Arc Systems Limited will launch its new lumber treatment plant today, a J$400 million investment, according to owner Norman Horne who says it positions his company to supply both Jamaica and Caribbean markets.
Horne, who has been in the lumber business for the last 10 years, said Jamaica on average imports three million board feet of treated lumber on a monthly basis.
"Treating the lumber here is much more cost effective and, by doing so, we can also create a stand-alone business and a value-added business," said Horne.
"We have also always wanted a lead product that we can take to the export market; we are going to export and compete as a distributor of treated lumber," he said.
The plant consists of high-tech electric valves, cylinders, tanks and dripping pads, he said. It can treat four million board feet of lumber per month on a single shift, which Horne said is how he intends to start.
However, with a double-shift production it can ramp up to eight million board feet, but that type of expansion will be dependent on market demand and would be executed as a long-term project, he said.
Horne said the plant will also treat lumber under contract for players in the construction sector.
"We treat for our own distribution but are also open to treat on contract; we have had advance discussions and it's favourable so far," he said.
The plant which broke ground last year October will provide employment for about 42 persons.
Lumber is normally treated to guard against pesticides, insecticides, mould and to preserve the integrity of the wood for construction purposes.
Along with the treatment of lumber, Horne said the company will also expand to manufacture wood products such as doors.