Local pallet producer Woodcats International is admitting that the Jamaican marketplace has not taken onto plastic pallets, with the current take-up falling below expectation.
Even with take-up falling below expectation, Woodcats’ parent company, Derrimon Trading, still sees a market for the product. In fact, Derrimon’s management is anticipating that things will improve, while admitting that the slow take-up of plastic pallets is not confined to Jamaica but is a worldwide phenomenon.
Speaking at a recent Jamaica Observer Business Forum, Derrimon’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Derrick Cotterell admitted to the uphill task in getting the local marketplace to use more plastic pallets. He remarked, “we recognise that there is a need for plastic pallets, and I must [admit] that the industry has not taken onto plastic pallets as we would have expected.”
Cotterell conceded that plastic pallets have their own challenges, but was quick to point out that there are some businesses and industries that require plastic pallets.
Woodcats International is Jamaica’s leading manufacturer of wooden pallets and crates, with the company diversifying into plastic pallets, particularly over the last two years since its acquisition by Derrimon in 2018.
Woodcats offers a full range of pallet solutions, including manufacturing pallets for export and warehouse storage, and manufactures and distributes plastic pallets. Cotterell explained that Woodcats currently has in stock plastic pallets in Jamaica of different variety, sizes and quality to meet the requirements of the particular company or industry demanding the product.
PLASTIC PALLETS REQUIRE SPECIFICATION
Cotterell told the Observer Business Forum that the plastic pallets produced by Woodcats are specific and specialised towards the company desiring the product, and the industry, indicating that not every industry can use plastic pallets, as some products being transported on plastic pallets will slide off. As such, plastic pallets require specification.
The Woodcats parent company chairman made the point that “internationally wooden pallets will do better than plastic; there are more wooden pallets in the world than plastic pallets”.
On the matter of wooden pallets, Cotterell reported that Woodcats is doing exceptionally well in this area.
The Derrimon chairman stated that Woodcats has the highest quality standards in the world regarding the treatment of pests in wooden pallets, which is done through two means: chemical treatment and treatment through heat via its kiln located at its plant at Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston. Cotterell noted that Woodcats operates under the premise that all its pallets are pest free.
Derrimon’s Chief Financial Officer Ian Kelly argued that, “This is a very important part of the whole export process, because many countries have standards for export and the carrying agent of the product [pallets] has to be freed from pests and termites.” As such, Kelly stated that “Woodcats would have prevented that from the very outset so that, at least, you would know that from the point of packing that it [pests] has been abated.”
Woodcats provide certified heat treatment services for exporters and, throughout the years, has gained a reputation for high-quality products supplied in a timely manner, even for emergency orders. The services include heat treatment, pallet repair and fast delivery.
During the early period of the pandemic, Woodcats managed to remain open, in spite of the decline in business, which has since returned to normal levels. Kelly told the Observer business desk that the company did not lay off any staff but opted to employ most of its staff on a week on and week off rotational basis, so as to save jobs.
He explained that most of the administrative staff worked from home, a strategic decision, which has paid off and kept the company afloat.