Materials Handling Online -- November 10, 2000
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SAVANNAH, Georgia, USA -- Kalmar Industries has delivered five DCD420-12CSG container-handling lift trucks to the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) in Savannah as part of a contract that includes an option for five further units.

The contract is a major breakthrough, as these are the first Kalmar machines to be purchased by the GPA.

The GPA operates 40 full container handlers, most of which are US built. Carlton Company, a well-known US Caterpillar distributor, assisted in the sale of the Kalmar machines.

Kalmar regional sales manager Frank de Mora said many of the world's biggest suppliers had bid for the contract, and Kalmar was "very pleased" to win.

The DCD420-12CSG is a 42-tonne capacity machine, with a gantry-type 20ft-40ft spreader, capable of lifting loaded 9ft 6in containers four-high for stacking.

During the delivery phase, Kalmar provided three three-day classes on maintenance and operation of the machines.

Mr de Mora said heavy lift trucks were still selling well in the North American market, although several leading operators had followed the global trend towards reach stackers.

"Kalmar reach stackers are proving increasingly popular with US terminal operators, but the continued success of the heavy lift mast truck indicates that both products have their place in the market," he said.

The Port of Felixstowe, Great Britain's largest container port, has ordered two 42-tonne machines, and three EC handlers. A Moroccan customer has ordered 16 machines: nine 20-tonne, four 25-tonne and three 42-tonne Kalmar machines.

Kalmar Industries is a global provider of heavy-duty materials handling equipment and services to ports, terminals and industrial customers. The company says every fourth container or trailer-transfer at terminals around the world is handled by a Kalmar machine.

Kalmar manufactures products under four brand names, Kalmar, Sisu, Ottawa and Magnum. The product range includes, rubber-tyred gantry cranes, straddle carriers, reach stackers, EC lift trucks, forklift trucks with a 4-90-tonne capacity, terminal tractors and log handlers.

MJOLBY, Sweden -- BT Industries is recruiting 150 people at its Mjolby factory in Sweden over the next year to "meet current and anticipated demand for warehouse trucks", the company said.

The growing market for lift trucks, and the successful launches of new products, were seeing BT's strong sales continue, said BT Products AB president Hakan Schill. He said the company's merger, in June this year, with Toyoda Automatic Loom Works (TAL) also would increase sales. TAL acquired 97% of BT for an undisclosed sum.

BT is implementing a US$10 million investment program at its Swedish factory to raise production capacity by 40%. The program includes building a new, larger paint shop and introducing new production techniques and more efficient assembly methods.

Mr Schill said half the new recruits were required "straight away ... despite the fact that 70 people have already been hired this year alone".

He said BT planned to replace temporary employees with full-time workers, and "increase the total staff to a level that corresponds with the production increases we are now planning for".

BT launched two new walkie product lines in the Orion and Minimover ranges late in October.

There are four Orion models in the new range, from 1800kg capacity to a 2400kg truck, purpose-built for heavy duty applications or long distances. The Orion can travel at up to 12km per hour.

The other new product, the Minimover, is a small, low-cost electric truck designed for horizontal pallet movement in lighter applications. Compact, light and easy to manoeuvre, the Minimover has a 1300kg rated capacity, BT said.

BT Industries has been in the truck industry for more than 50 years. It has more than 7000 employees, and last year sold more than 50,000 warehouse trucks and more than 130,000 pallet trucks.

CEBU, Philippines -- The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) will invest more than US$150 million in a world-class container port complex to be built in 2006.

Philippines media reports say at least seven firms intend to bid for the building contract, including the Port of Hamburg, an Australian company, and a Japanese company.

Demand on the Port of Cebu, in the central Philippines province of Cebu, has increased steadily in recent years, creating a need for several expansion projects, a CPA statement said.

The CPA plans to rehabilitate 1.2km of berth, costing about US$38 million, to accommodate large inter-island vessels. This would increase foreign cargo handling capacity, as higher capacity equipment is introduced.

Fast ferries have started servicing routes between Cebu and neighbouring islands, providing an alternative to regular ferries and air transport. Six fast ferry companies now operate from the Port of Cebu, with a combined capacity of about 5,000 passengers per day. A rehabilitation and redesign of existing fast ferry berths is also planned.

An elevated walkway will link a new passenger terminal with the fast ferry berths and cargo berths. A 14-story commercial building, to be called the Maritime Centre, is included in the development.

The Port of Cebu operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It has direct links to surrounding countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.

In 1996 the port handled four million tonnes of cargo. The annual growth in cargo traffic is expected to be constant at 10% over the next decade.

The Cebu terminal has two 40-tonne rail-mounted gantry container cranes, two level cranes of 25 and 35-tonne capacities, six 40-tonne rubber-tyred gantry cranes, a 45-tonne reach stacker and three 25-tonne top lifters. The port has 2,418 ground slots for containers, and 48 slots for refrigerated containers.

HANNOVER, Germany -- Expo 2000, regarded as the biggest showcase for the global materials handling industry, has been criticised by the world's press for having "long queues, lousy food, over-priced tickets and boring exhibits".

The five-month fair ran up a US$1.1 billion loss, six times the original forecast, the Business Recorder said.

"The main reason for the huge shortfall is the anaemic attendance - even though a rush of visitors in the waning weeks overcrowded the park and left queues of Germans frustrated by waits of up to four hours to enter some of the attractions," BR writer Erik Kirschbaum said.

Fourteen million people attended the expo, 26 million fewer than expected, to make it "one of the most poorly attended trade fairs in the last century", the paper said. BR said 48 million attended the fair in 1900.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, USA -- A woman's ex-boyfriend rammed a forklift into her current boyfriend's truck, then shot him in the shoulder, reports the Seattle Times.

A 36-year-old man was in a satisfactory condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the right shoulder. Witnesses said that before the shooting, the man and his girlfriend heard the suspect slam a forklift into the man's truck.

It is alleged the 40-year-old gunman then opened fire with a revolver. Police said there had been "ongoing problems" between the suspect, the victim and the woman.

RICHMOND, USA -- A 26-year-old forklift driver was killed when a massive explosion rocked a plastics recycling plant in Contra Costa on October 27.

The San Francisco Chronicle said driver Jeremiah Spritz died from smoke inhalation. The fire which followed the explosion destroyed two-thirds of the 15,000sqm plant.

The smoke contained by-products of burning plastic, including the toxic benzene.

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