Colombian panel maker Tablemac is planning to launch commercial production on the country’s first MDF line at Barbosa in Antioquia state in March this year.

The plant, equipped with a 132,000m3/year Dieffenbacher MDF line with a 16.4m long continuous press, can supply a range of board from 3 to 38mm thickness. The Barbosa plant was due to start up in the final quarter of 2011.

The firm is expected to sell around 70% of output in Colombia with the rest exported nearby to Central America, Panama, Mexico and Ecuador.

The particleboard and RTA furniture producer with two existing plants in Colombia had some good news recently.

The site of Tablemac’s latest US$45m MDF project is reported to have been designated a Special Permanent Free Trade Zone offering the firm special tax advantages and duty-free machinery import status.

Tablemac applied to be part of the free trade zone in May 2010.

The Barbosa site, which includes a biomass energy plant, is strategically positioned between the important industrial centre and state capital of Medellin and the port of Puerto Berrio.