Norway-based packaging manufacturer Elopak plans to build a $70 million, 300,000-SF production plant at the Port of Little Rock, port officials announced Tuesday.
The project on 25 acres is expected to create about 100 jobs. The Port of Little Rock board voted Tuesday morning to approve a resolution to sell the acreage to Elopak. Final approval is expected from the city Board of Directors later in the day.
The project will be developed on the western edge of the port, occupying the northern-most portion of a 107-acre site on Zeuber Road east of Fourche Bayou.
The plant will produce cartons for liquid dairy, juices, plant-based products and liquid eggs. It’s set to be Elopak’s first U.S. plant. A company representative said it plans to break ground on the project in about six weeks and begin moving equipment into the facility about a year from now.
The Little Rock Regional Chamber said it received an initial request for information on Nov. 10, 2022, and worked with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Entergy Arkansas throughout the project. Hickey & Associates of Minneapolis was the site location consulting firm on the project.
Key drivers for the project included access to reliable, high-quality utilities with a focus on sustainability and the presence of a rail spur on site. The port plans to extend rail as an incentive for the project.
Another key factor, according to the chamber, was an area with a skilled workforce and training institutions. Chamber officials this year took representatives from Elopak on a tour of the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Tech and the new Saline County Career Technical Campus and introduced the parties. It was one of three visits the company took to Little Rock in 2023.
It wasn’t until June that local stakeholders were told the identity of the company. They were subject to a nondisclosure agreement for the company’s first two visits to the city.
The company evaluated more than 25 locations across five states before selecting Little Rock.
Elopak is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in Norway. The company currently has three production sites in North America, located in Canada, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Globally, the company employs 2,600 people and sells more than 14 billion cartons annually in 70 countries.
Elopak is the seventh international company to set up shop at the port. Company officials announced the plans during a Tuesday news conference at port offices. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. attended.
A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed parts of the business recruiting process that were performed by the Little Rock Regional Chamber.