J. D. Irving

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J. D. Irving Ltd.
  • Forestry
  • Transportation
  • Shipbuilding
  • Consumer Products
Founded Bouctouche, New Brunswick, Canada 1882 (1882)
Founder James Durgavel Irving
Headquarters Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Area served
Key people
Owner James K. Irving
Number of employees
Parent Irving Group of Companies
Divisions Irving Forest Products & Services
Irving Transportation Services
Irving Shipbuilding & Industrial Fabrication
Irving Retail & Distribution Services
Irving Consumer Products
Irving Industrial Equipment & Construction
Irving Specialty Printing
Irving Tissue
Website www.jdirving.com
Footnotes / references
Pulp and Paper Mill owned by JDI in Saint John, New Brunswick.

J.D. Irving Limited is a privately owned conglomerate company headquartered in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Its activities include many industries: forestry, paper products, agriculture, food processing, transportation, shipbuilding. The company forms, with Irving Oil and Brunswick News, the bulk of the Irving Group of Companies, which regroups the interests of the Irving family.


J.D. Irving Limited (JDI) traces its roots to a sawmill operated in Bouctouche, New Brunswick by its namesake, James Durgavel Irving.[1] J.D. Irving's operations were entrusted to his children, one of which, Kenneth Colin Irving, assumed majority ownership and used JDI as a springboard for expanding into pulp and paper and other forestry-related businesses between the 1920s-1940s.

In the post-war years, JDI took control of pulp mills in Saint John and upstate New York, as well as sawmills throughout New Brunswick. During the 1950s, JDI took control of a shipyard in Saint John and started several trucking companies and heavy industry companies like Irving Equipment to satisfy the growing needs of the company.

A Kent store in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

From the 1960s-2000s, JDI expanded to become the largest forestry concern in the Maritimes and northern Maine and the region's largest industrial player, with extensive land holdings, tree nurseries, pulp mills (plants producing kraft pulp, supercalendered paper, tissue products, and corrugated medium), sawmills, a retail chain of home improvement stores (Kent Building Supplies), modular home construction (Kent Homes), industrial construction, wallboard manufacturing, marine towing and dredging (Atlantic Towing), prefabricated concrete (StresCon), steel fabrication (Ocean Steel), frozen food production (Cavendish Farms), fertilizer and agri-services (Cavendish Agri-Services), railways (New Brunswick Southern Railway), and manufacturing of personal care products including tissue and paper towels (Majesta and Royale) as well as diapers (Irving Personal Care).

In the 1970s and 1980s, JDI expanded into trucking with its Scot Truck subsidiary based in Debert, NS. Now called Midland Transport and based in Dieppe, NB, it is joined by sister companies Midland Courier (Dieppe), Sunbury Transport (Fredericton) and RST Industries (Saint John).

JDI is also the largest shipbuilder in Canada with ownership of shipyards in Halifax, Liverpool, Shelburne, and Georgetown.


As a large regional industrial conglomerate, J.D. Irving Ltd. subsidiaries have been the focus of several notable incidents:

  • In 1970 an oil barge named Irving Whale sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence causing periodic oil spills until it was raised by the federal government in 1996.
  • In 2007 the Irving Pulp & Paper Ltd. mill at Reversing Falls accidentally released 680,000 litres of green liquor into the Saint John River; pleading guilty, the company received a fine of $50,000. In November 2008 Environment Canada investigators exercised a search warrant at Irving Pulp & Paper's head office to seek more information on this accidental spill.
  • In November 2008 JDI Logistics and Atlantic Towing made the news over an accident involving the transport of 2 new turbines from Saint John Harbour to the nearby Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station. The JDI subsidiaries had been sub-contracted by Siemens AG, Turbine Replacement sub-contractor for the facility's owner NB Power. The 2 turbines were manufactured by Siemens AG in Scotland and were shipped to Saint John on a road transport vehicle aboard a cargo ship. The cargo was off-loaded from the ship onto a barge owned by Atlantic Towing Ltd., however the cargo shifted and the barge tipped, sending the turbines and the road transport vehicle into Saint John Harbour.
  • In late November 2008 the Atlantic Towing Ltd. dredging barge Shovel Master was being towed by the company's tugboat Atlantic Larch from Saint John to Halifax for a refit when it foundered in heavy seas 20 nmi (37 km) west of Yarmouth, NS. The barge crew of 3 was rescued by a CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter before the barge capsized. Several ATL tugboats and commercial divers responded and a tow line was secured to the capsized, yet floating, barge by the tugboat Atlantic Oak. The barge was towed 45 nmi (83 km) south of Yarmouth however it sank in 150 m (490 ft), carrying 70,000 L (18,000 US gal) of diesel fuel, as well as 1,000 L (260 US gal) of hydraulic fluid and 5,000 L (1,300 US gal) of waste oil.


J.D. Irving’s ownership of most major media outlets in New Brunswick has led to ongoing concern regarding control of the media. A report from the Canadian Senate in 2006 on media control in Canada singled out New Brunswick because of the Irving companies' ownership of all English-language daily newspapers in the province, including the Telegraph-Journal. Senator Joan Fraser, author of the Senate report, stated, "We didn't find anywhere else in the developed world a situation like the situation in New Brunswick."[4] The report went further, stating, "the Irvings' corporate interests form an industrial-media complex that dominates the province" to a degree "unique in developed countries." At the Senate hearing, journalists and academics cited Irving newspapers' lack of critical reporting on the family's influential businesses.[5]

J.D. Irving forestry practices and influence over provincial government policy has also resulted in controversy. A forestry plan announced by the Province in 2014 had been altered at the company’s request to increase allowed cutting by 20%, to a level experts believed was unsustainable.[6] This was justified to the public with promises of jobs growth and corporate investment in silviculture infrastructure. Defending the changes, J.D. Irving co-chief executive Jim Irving blamed criticisms on environmental nay-sayers, and cited the company’s own scientific research group of six doctorates, which had worked for 15 years “on the ground”. “This is not theoretical”, he said. “This is not sitting in the office staring at the computer. This is out in the forest, doing the work on the ground, collecting the data.”[7] However, one scientist who was part of J.D. Irving Ltd's forest research advisory committee went public to counter Irving’s assertion. Marc-André Villard stated, “We have never been told about the details of this upcoming plan. We had heard about it, but only rumours. And we were not consulted whatsoever on the contents of the plan."


The following is a list of divisions of J.D. Irving Ltd.

Irving Forest Products & Services[edit]

Irving Transportation Services[edit]

Irving Shipbuilding & Fabrication Services[edit]

Irving Retail & Distribution Services[edit]

Irving Consumer Products[edit]

Industrial Equipment & Construction[edit]

  • Irving Wallboard
  • Gulf Operators
  • Irving Equipment (crane rental, heavy lifting, specialized transportation, pile driving and project management services)

Specialty Printing[edit]

Personnel Services[edit]

  • Protrans Personnel Services Inc.

Security Services[edit]

  • Industrial Security Limited

Professional Sports[edit]

Brunswick News[edit]

A selection of former subsidiaries[edit]


  1. ^ a b "History". J.D. Irving, Limited. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "About Us". J.D. Irving, Limited. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "J.D. Irving, Limited". Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "CBC: Feds must examine Irving media empire". 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  5. ^ "The Star: Hot scoop burns reporter at Irving paper". 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  6. ^ l "CBC: New Crown forestry plan greeted with shock, dismay" Check |url= value (help). 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  7. ^ l "CBC: Jim Irving defends New Brunswick forest practices, expanded cut" Check |url= value (help). 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 

External links[edit]