Forkliftaction.com
MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE #22 MAY 10, 2001
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The fortnightly newsletter for industry professionals.
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IN THIS ISSUE:
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1. New container terminal for Guangzhou
2. Global hydraulic crane and aerial platform manufacturer files
for bankruptcy
3. Kaldnes legend lives on through special US order
4. Steinbock dealers to sue over dealership terminations?
5. Toyoda aims to boost global market share
6. Italian manufacturer buys forklift gearbox company
7. Inventor develops collapsible containers
8. No changes at Lindes top management
9. Farmer jailed for forklift rampage
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1. NEW CONTAINER TERMINAL FOR GUANGZHOU
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GUANGZHOU, People's Republic of China -- Guangzhou Harbour and the Singapore Harbour Group (SHG) have signed a 50-year contract to jointly develop and run the Guangzhou container terminal in south-east China's Guangdong Province.

The expansion will require substantial materials handling equipment contracts.

The Morning Post said the two groups would jointly invest 800 million yuan (USD100 million) to double the port's container handling capacity through technical innovation. They would establish a joint-venture company, 51 per cent owned by Guangzhou Harbour and 49 per cent by the SHG, to operate the port.

The expansion is expected to be finished by 2005.

Guangzhou Harbour is southern China's largest external trade port and had throughput of more than 100 million tonnes a year in 1999 and 2000. The SHG owns and operates some of the world's largest container terminals.

The SHG had an annual throughput of more than 16 million TEUs last year, the second-largest capacity in the world, according to The Morning Post.

Guangzhou has been hailed as one of China's key growth areas after the first quarter of this year, with gross domestic product of 55.883 billion yuan (USD6.98 billion), an increase of 12.3 per cent over the same period in 2000, The Morning Post said.

The rate is higher than that of the major centres of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqi cities, and was greater than the national average of 8.1 per cent.
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2. GROVE FILES CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY PETITION
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SHADY GROVE, USA -- Grove Worldwide, a hydraulic crane and aerial platform manufacturer, has filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the US Middle District Court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Patriot News said Grove's filing was to allow the company to reduce debt from a leveraged buyout in 1998. Grove planned to reduce debt from USD584 million to USD205 million and cut annual interest expenses from USD63 million to USD17 million.

The bankruptcy filing affects the company's domestic operations, but does not include any of its foreign ventures, which are in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, China and the United Arab Emirates.

Grove said it had received funding of up to USD35 million from a group led by Chase Manhattan Bank for operating expenses and supplier and employee obligations.

Under the bankruptcy package, unsecured creditors would receive a cash payment of 100 per cent of their allowed claims, The Patriot News said.

Grove chairman and chief executive officer Jeffry Bust said the restructuring process would not affect the company's obligations to employees and customers.

"While we do not expect to close any locations or have any layoffs as a direct result of the filing, we will continue to evaluate our strategic and staffing needs as part of an ongoing review of the business, and will make decisions based on what is in the best long-term interests of the company," Mr Bust told web magazine LiftLink.com.

The US court granted approval for Grove to honour all warranties, refunds and customer service programs.
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3. KALDNES LEGEND LIVES ON
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SEATTLE, USA -- Shipping company Alaskan Marine Line (AML) has made a special request for four Kaldnes container handlers from Swedish company Svetruck, which now owns Kaldnes, but no longer manufactures the container handlers.

Kaldnes, which had a manufacturing-licensing deal with Caterpillar before Caterpillar formed a joint venture with Mitsubishi in the mid-1990s, was taken over by Svetruck in January. Kaldnes had continued selling its products through Caterpillar dealers until the takeover.

The Kaldnes brand is now only used for Kaldnes's heavy log handlers which are made by Kaldnes-Scandlog and marketed under the Kaldnes-Scandlog brand.

Kaldnes-Scandlog manager Jan-Erik Kirkeberg said AML had approached Svetruck this year, asking specifically for Kaldnes machines, which Svetruck had agreed to make.

Mr Kirkeberg said he believed Svetruck would not continue production of the Kaldnes line, but AML "must have offered the right price".

Mr Kirkeberg was a long-time production manager for Kaldnes, and continues with Kaldnes-Scandlog providing parts supply and technical support for Kaldnes machines around the world.

"There are some 1000 machines still out there, so there is more than enough work to keep me busy," he told Forkliftaction.com.

Mr Kirkeberg said the AML machines would be constructed on the Svetruck production line in Ljungby, Sweden. The Kaldnes-Scandlog team had supplied "some steel work, and the cabin", which was shipped from Norway.
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4. STEINBOCK DEALERS THREATEN TO SUE
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HAMBURG, Germany -- Up to 50 angry former Steinbock GmbH forklift dealers could take legal action against Steinbock and parent Jungheinrich over the termination of dealership contracts in April.

Jungheinrich is the world's fourth largest forklift and storage engineering company. Steinbock manufactures forklifts and warehouse equipment. It sold 10,000 units in 2000.

Steinbock last month dismissed all 15 of its German dealers and its 34 other European dealers. Juergen Niebling, legal representative for the dealers, believes Jungheinrich wants "to take the business into its own hands".

Niebling said Jungheinrich had already begun selling identical products in the contract areas formerly the exclusive territories of the dealers.

The Steinbock dealers will lodge a complaint with the European Union Commission against both Jungheinrich and Steinbock, Niebling said.
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5. TOYODA PLANS TO LIFT GLOBAL MARKET SHARE
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CHIBA, Japan -- Toyoda Automatic Loom Works (TALM), an affiliate of the Toyota Motor Corporation, plans to increase its sales volume this year to 145,500 units, or 26.5 per cent of global market share.
Last year TALM sold more than 140,000 forklifts worldwide, about 24 per cent of the global market.
TALM has just opened a centre in Chiba Prefecture to exhibit its forklifts and other materials handling products. The centre will provide consultancy services for customers' distribution and warehouse installment problems.
TALM has also established the Toyota Material Handling Company to highlight its forklift operations and speed services.
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6. ITALIAN MANUFACTURER BUYS FORKLIFT GEARBOX COMPANY
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REGGIOLO, Italy -- Comer Group SpA, which claims to be a world leader in the design and manufacture of highly engineered power transmission systems, has acquired Tecnostile, which manufactures wheel-drive gearboxes for forklifts and materials handling and other battery-operated equipment.

Tecnostile fits very well with our strategy of being a supplier of special products dedicated to OEMs in mobile equipment, says Stefano Mion, Comer Group chief operating officer.

Over 25 years, Tecnostile has developed a wide range of products for materials handling equipment. It also supplies complete electric wheel drives, electric motors and wheels, sourced from other independent manufacturers.
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7. INVENTOR DEVELOPS COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINERS
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BRISBANE, Australia -- An Australian inventor has developed a collapsible container which he says could revolutionise the materials handling industry.
Geoff Richter, a former ships captain, has designed a collapsible container that folds down to one third the size of a traditional container when empty. He has established Foltainer International to market the containers, which will be manufactured by Rollpress Gurr in Brisbane.

Geoff Antcliffe, director, Foltainer International, said the new containers offered incredible cost savings.

Imagine being able to stack three empty containers on a truck instead of one. Container yards, too, will benefit greatly as stacking space will be much smaller, he said.

Mr Antcliffe said the foltainer could be collapsed in 52 seconds by two men and a forklift.

Rollpress Gurr managing director Gary Bloom said his factory would initially increase staff by 500 to manufacture the folding containers.

But, if we only get 10 per cent of the work the marketing people forecast, Ill have to increase staff levels ten fold.

Mr Antcliffe said the new containers would not require new handling equipment. They use existing forklift and container handling technology, but will bring about more efficient procedures, he said.
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8. NO CHANGES AT LINDE TOP MANAGEMENT
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WIESBADEN, Germany -- The board of Linde AG, a major global forklift player, has extended the contract of its president and chief executive Gerhard Full until December 31, 2002. His designated successor, deputy president Peter Grafoner is leaving the company by mutual agreement, Linde said in a statement.
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9. FARMER JAILED FOR FORKLIFT RAMPAGE
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LEICESTER, United Kingdom -- A farmer who snubbed council demands to tidy his yard, and dumped three council cars in a hedge with a forklift, has been jailed for two months.
As reported last October by Forkliftaction.com, Brian Statham, 56, wrote off two of the cars when planning officers served an enforcement notice.
Leicester Crown Court heard Statham had been arguing with his local council for almost 10 years, the Ananova news website said.
When council officers refused to leave his property, Statham jumped in his forklift, put the forks under the cars and tipped them on their sides, causing GBP9,000 damage.
He then drove calmly back onto his land, where he arrested. Statham pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal damage to the cars.
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