Firm to Expand Newport News, Va., Paper Importing Facility

Lydall Distribution Services Inc. will expand its paper importing business at Newport News Marine Terminal, the Virginia Port Authority announced Tuesday.

Lydall Distribution signed a 15-year agreement with Virginia International Terminals Inc., the port authority's operating arm, replacing a 10-year deal reached three years ago.

Under the new agreement, the Lydall Paper Distribution Center will expand to 235,000 square feet from 100,000 square feet. Lydall will be taking over and modifying existing warehouse space on the marine terminal, said Linda Ford, the port authority's spokeswoman.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lydall Distribution, a subsidiary of Manchester, Conn.-based Lydall Inc., imports and distributes high-grade papers and newsprint, the paper used for printing newspapers, including The Virginian-Pilot, The Roanoke Times, The Daily Press in Newport News and The Washington Post.

"Since opening in late 2001, we've experienced 30 percent growth in tonnage and over 200 percent growth in container business," said Bill Franks, president of Lydall Distribution Services, in a prepared statement. "The expanded square footage gives us the opportunity to expand the breadth of our services as well as to enhance the services of the Virginia Ports."

When Lydall agreed to move its operation from the Port of Richmond in 2001, it committed to shipping about 45,000 tons of paper through the port in 2002.

Last year, Lydall imported 63,228 tons of paper, according to port authority data. Through the first nine months of 2004, Lydall has brought in 48,399 tons.

The paper is delivered by ship from Canada, Europe and South America and shipped out on trucks.

Officials at Lydall could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

"The operation has given Virginia Ports the unique ability to handle paper cargoes and has enhanced growth of the Port's cargo base," said Joseph A. Dorto, Virginia International Terminals general manager and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "The expansion of the facility, our partnership with Lydall, and the combined experience of the personnel at Lydall and the port offers service advantages to our mutual customers and operational advantages not available at other port facilities."