Chicago -- Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. has announced it will close a plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and cut back U.S. operations. The changes will result in a reduction of approximately 1,400 employees over the next 18 months. The company says these moves will result in an annual savings of $140 million. Smurfit-Stone says the packaging sector of the manufacturing economy is suffering because overseas operations are slowing the domestic demand for packaging in the United States. The company says it will take a pre-tax charge of approximately $100 million in the fourth quarter as a result of these activities.