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Tranlin breaks ground on $2 billion project in Virginia

Tranlin Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of China-based Shandong Tranlin Paper Co., has officially broken ground on its first U.S. operation, a $2 billion advanced manufacturing facility to produce natural color, straw fiber tissue products made from agricultural field waste such as wheat straw and corn stalks. Tranlin’s U.S. operation will be in Chesterfield, Va., and will generate more than 2,000 direct jobs in Virginia by 2020.

“The Tranlin facility in Chesterfield will create thousands of jobs and millions in new agriculture revenues, all of which will support our shared vision for a stronger new Virginia economy. I am thrilled to help break ground on a project that will have enormous economic development implications for our entire commonwealth," said Governor McAuliffe about the project.

Tranlin’s Chesterfield County facility will use the company’s innovative, proprietary technology. In addition, Tranlin will produce humus-based organic fertilizer products using residues from the papermaking process.

Tranlin points out that environmental sustainability is deeply embedded in its culture and guides the company’s ongoing pursuit of innovation and technological advancement. Tranlin’s products, the company notes, are a positive contribution to both American consumers and the agricultural sector. Its manufacturing process is referred to as the "Golden Circle" because the straw paper manufacturing process creates a fully renewable and sustainable loop.

At the top of the circle, agricultural byproducts such as wheat and corn stalks are used as raw material to make paper products that include bath, kitchen, facial and travel tissue, as well as tableware. Then residues from the papermaking process are refined into highly effective, humus-based organic fertilizer. The circle is complete when this fertilizer is ultimately used to grow crops, often requiring less water, chemical fertilizer, and pesticides than traditional fertilizers.

"We are even more confident now than we were a year ago that our project is being built on a solid foundation that will allow it to be successful in Chesterfield, Va.," said Hongfa Li, chairman and president of Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. "After another year of extraordinary work by the entire Tranlin team and many supportive friends in Virginia, we know that all of the key factors including environmental, legal, cultural, market, engineering, and human resources are in place."

Jerry Peng, chairman and CEO of Tranlin Inc., added that "we are so excited to be embarking on this next phase of our work together in Virginia, and more importantly, we are so grateful of and encouraged by the supportive community in Chesterfield and Virginia. It is clear we chose wisely when we chose Virginia and Chesterfield. We will continue the close collaboration with all of the stakeholders here. It is our goal to build a very sustainable partnership with the local community, the farming sector, and our vendors. During the past year, we have built an excellent core team that has driven the project this far. We expect to accelerate our recruiting and project development."

Xuanyu Zhang, deputy mayor of Liaocheng, Shandong, where Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. is headquartered in China, said that "the groundbreaking ceremony symbolizes the next chapter of development for Shandong Tranlin. We sincerely hope the Tranlin U.S. project will become a showcase of cooperation between China and the U.S. that benefits us both." Zhang is in Virginia leading a senior delegation from Liaocheng with key municipal government officers and entrepreneurs. In addition to attending the groundbreaking ceremony, they signed a Sister City-County Memorandum of Understanding between Liaocheng, Shandong, and Chesterfield at a luncheon in Chesterfield celebrating the Tranlin Project groundbreaking.

Hong Zhu, minister for commercial affairs of the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., remarked on the significance of the Tranlin project to the relationship between the U.S. and China, "This is the opportune time for a project like this, when relations between our countries are entering a whole new level. The commonwealth has developed strong relations with China, and Tranlin has made a great choice in Virginia. Together we can achieve something truly great for our two countries."

Tranlin’s purchase of stalks and straw from corn and small grain producers creates a new market for agricultural residuals that are typically left in the field as waste. Based on the agricultural supply chain opportunities associated with the project, the economic benefit to farmers in this region alone could exceed $50 million per year once the company is operating at full capacity. Tranlin has already begun working with many farmers in the region to procure needed agricultural products for manufacturing operations. 

"We are excited to celebrate with Tranlin as they break ground on the first phase of this historic project. The 2,000 jobs that will be created by this facility will have a transformative effect on the Jefferson Davis Corridor, the county, and the entire region. We will continue to work diligently with our partners at the state, regional, and local levels to support Tranlin as they endeavor to manufacture their innovative products here in Chesterfield County while staying focused on the environment and sustainability," said Steve Elswick, chairman of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.

Tranlin’s presence in the market will also help preserve farmland by providing farmers a new opportunity to derive additional economic return from their land and equipment, creating positive economic incentives to maintain it in farming use, Tranlin said. The harvest of straw in the spring and corn stalks in the fall for use by Tranlin will be two new cash crops for Virginia growers in addition to other fibrous products from the surrounding area.

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