New Brownville Junction railroad siding will support Pleasant River wood chip growth

From The Eastern Gazette - February 10-16, 2017
by Mike Lange

BROWNVILLE — A new railroad siding under construction by Irving Woodlands — a division of J.D. Irving — will allow a Dover-Foxcroft lumber company to expand its wood chip market and storage space for the material.

Pleasant River Lumber Company President Jason Brochu said his firm will also be buying round wood from Irving and the new siding next to the Brownville water treatment plant will help with incoming log shipments as well. “We’ve bought from Irving in the past, so this location works well for both of us,” Brochu said. “The railroad line goes right into Saint John (New Brunswick) and they’ve made the investment. This is going to be a long-term relationship with them.”

Efforts -to reach a spokesperson for J.D. Irving were unsuccessful by press deadline.

Maine’s wood chip market has been somewhat volatile in recent years, but Brochu said that the future looks bright for his company. “There are fewer markets for chips than they’ re used to be and the cost of trucking long distance is cost-prohibitive,” he explained. “So shipping by rail works very well for both of us.”

Brochu also said that the recent axmouncement by Sappi North American that they’ re investing millions of dollars into their Somerset Plant “is also huge for us,” he said. “They’re a big chip customer and it’s only a 60-mile trip by truck.” I '

The siding in Brownville Junction also solves a storage problem for Pleasant River Lumber since they can stockpile 30 to 50 loads of chips at the site and still have room to offload the incoming logs.

“We’1l have one full—time person at the site and another full-time driver bringing material back and forth,” he said. “So this venture not only creates two new jobs but also keeps the hours stable for our workforce in Dover-Foxcroft with less downtime.”

Brochu said that with all the negative news about Maine’s lumber industry, it’s refreshing to see something positive on the horizon. “We’ve had some really good companies doing some really great things in the state,” he added.