Veneer mill reopens after running out of wood

Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2001

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Gateway Forest Products resumed operations at its veneer mill after being idle for a week by a lack of timber, the company said.

Gateway purchased logs from Sealaska Corp. to allow its 50 employees to return to work, said company President Jim Erickson. The company reopened Thursday.

Gateway Forest Products, founded by former managers of a defunct Ketchikan pulp mill, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February claiming $37 million in debt.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection weeks after it began producing veneer, citing cost overruns, construction delays and depressed lumber prices.

The financially strapped company is using revenue from sales to pay for timber. Erickson said it will continue to operate on one shift while it completes a financial reorganization plan.

Erickson said the company is confident it can continue purchasing enough wood to operate one shift. ''But we need to build up our inventory for second shift,'' he said.

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