HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Significantly higher tariffs on imported paper from China are among the reasons Hagadone Hawaii is citing for closing its commercial printing operations in the islands, officials said Friday.
Some 93 Hawaii employees will lose their jobs when the printing operations stop in 60 days.
The company said a new tariff levied on paper from China increased the cost of roll stock paper by 25 percent.
That was on top of higher costs for other raw materials, as well as rising electricity and other costs, said Clint Schroeder, president and chief operating officer of Hagadone Hawaii.
He also said that many publications Hagadone once printed no longer exist, while others have shifted printing to the mainland or opted for digital products.
“We have looked at several options. We wanted to do pretty much anything but this,” Schroeder told Hawaii News Now. “In the last five years Hagadone invested $4 million in new equipment, upgraded its digital press equipment, and launched large format printing to try to stem losses. While those have been greatly successful, it’s just been almost impossible for us to keep with this significant decrease from some of our very major accounts.”
Hagadone Hawaii is owned by Idaho-based The Hagadone Corporation.
Hawaii operations that will continue: Hagadone Media Group, which publishes visitor and retail publications, and Hagadone Digital, which provides graphic design, social media and other web-based services to clients.
In a news release, Hagadone said the 93 employees who will be laid off have been given notice. The company will offer them job training and other resources.
The company also said it will honor all commitments for printing through Jan. 11, and will work with its customers to ensure a smooth transition to other appropriate printers.
This story will be updated.