Braskem America has stopped production on a major polypropylene resin line in Marcus Hook, Pa.
In a statement sent to Plastics News, a spokesperson with Braskem in Philadelphia said that "to ensure the long-term resilience of [the firm] amid continuing global economic uncertainty and a trough in the chemical industry business cycle, we have made the difficult decision to implement an extended idling of one of our [PP] production lines" in Marcus Hook.
The spokesperson added that the closing will result in "a limited reduction in our workforce." The shuttered line has annual production capacity of about 450 million pounds. Braskem operates a second line at the site with the same amount of annual capacity. That line will remain in operation.
The Marcus Hook site — and a Braskem PP unit in Neal W. Va. — won praise in early 2020 when workers there stayed at the plants for 28 days to keep them running and to limit the spread of COVID-19. Both plants make PP used in fabric for N95 masks, hospital gowns and hoods, and other medical applications needed during the pandemic.
Braskem America is one of North America's largest producers of PP resin. The firm is a unit of Braskem SA of São Paulo, which ranks as Brazil's largest petrochemicals firm. Braskem SA employs almost 9,000 and posted sales of almost $19 billion in 2022.