The fortnightly newsletter for industry professionals.
1. Jungheinrich dealers damages claim dismissed
2. Cargo boost to hike sales for Tractors Malaysia?
3. Barloworld sees surge in first half operating profit
4. Nigerian Ports Authority goes shopping in Europe
5. Strongcos Canada forklift business for sale
6. Komatsu develops unmanned forklift
7. Forklift driver the Blue Collar Benefactor
HAMBURG, Germany -- A former Portuguese Jungheinrich AG forklifts dealer has lost an appeal in a Hamburg court against a court dismissal of a disputed terminated distribution agreement.

Jungheinrich announced on Monday that the appellate court Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht Hamburg had upheld the earlier decision by the lower court, the Landgericht, to refuse the dealer's application.

Jungheinrich's listed Portugal dealer is Jungheinrich Equipamentos de Transporte LDA, but it is unknown whether this is the same dealer who took the court action.

The Portuguese dealer had claimed damages after Jungheinrich, Europe's second-largest forklift maker, terminated its distribution agreement in favour of distributing its products directly, in a move to cut costs and boost earnings.

Jungheinrich said it had terminated the contract in order to serve the Portugese market via a subsidiary company of its own, which it did not name.

The dealer sought DM9 million (USD4 million) in damages, an Associated Press report said.

Jungheinrich, the fourth-biggest manufacturer of industrial forklifts globally, had said in February that it planned to distribute its products directly. Last month it dismissed 50 of its subisidiary Steinbock GmbH's German and European dealers, as reported in Forklift Action News #22.

A spokesman for the dismissed dealers said the group would lodge a formal complaint against Jungheinrich with the European Union Commission.
PUCHONG, Malaysia -- Tractors Malaysia Holdings Bhd is hoping to benefit from increased demand for container handling equipment as Malaysian ports' cargo volumes escalate.

Tractors manufacturing general manager Yoong Kee Sin said despite a slowdown in the Malaysian economy, Tractors' heavy vehicle division was performing well.

"We see a good market for cranes, forklifts, terminal tractors and trailers as ports around the region expand their operations," Mr Yoong told The Star.

Tractors last week delivered 14 of its Terberg Benschop terminal tractors, worth RM4 million, to Penang Port Sdn Bhd. It is its first major order since forming a manufacturing alliance with The Netherlands-based Tergberg Benschop BV this year.

Terberg has manufactured terminal tractors since 1973 and, while it regards western Europe as its "home" market, the company fills orders in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Tractors already has alliances with New Holland, Sakai, Mitsubishi, Textron, Terex, Niigata and Caterpillar for a wide range of heavy industrial equipment.

Mr Yoong said Tractors was preparing an order for 25 cornerless container trailers, worth RM1.25 million, for delivery to Port Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) in June. The Star said PTP had doubled its cargo handling capacities in the past 18 months, ordering more than 100 Tractors cargo-handling units.

Tractors Malaysia is a subsidiary of Puchong-based Sime Darby Berhad, which has been the Caterpillar dealer in Malaysia since 1929. Tractors was formed in 1964, and listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in 1968.
DURBAN, South Africa -- Industrial company Barloworld says it has defied international market downturns to post a 47 per cent growth in operating profit to R719 million for the half-year ended March 31, 2001.

Worldwide revenues grew 28 per cent to R13.4 billion.

Barloworld says it is the largest independent lift truck dealer in the world, with major operations in the south-east United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium and South Africa. Barloworld has been a Hyster dealer since 1929. The company has more than 22,000 employees in 31 countries worldwide, and its products are sold in more than 90 countries.

Barloworld represents many of the world materials handling brands, including Caterpillar and Hyster.

The company says 65 per cent of its operating profit is now earned outside South Africa. Chief executive Tony Phillips said the results were achieved despite a downturn in North America, and "stagnant" markets in South Africa and Australia. There was, however, significant growth in Europe and the rest of Africa, Mr Phillips said.

"Our target remains to ensure that, through the business cycle, we earn returns in excess of our cost of capital in every business unit," he said.

Mr Phillips said the implementation of a new Barloworld corporate identity, announced last year, was on track for completion by September 2002, and was becoming recognised in many markets.

He said that, despite uncertainties about the growth of the world economy, "further progress in profitability is expected for the second half". But he conceded that the increase might not reach the level of the first half.
LAGOS, Nigeria -- With cargo-handling equipment inadequate to tackle increasing congestion at Nigerian ports, executives from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) are currently in Europe on a procurement mission to acquire cranes, forklifts and container handlers.

News agency Vanguard said NPA managing director Mallam Bello Gwandu, who has led the team to an unnamed European country, was reprimanded by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo for inefficiency at the ports.

Vanguard said President Olusegun told Mr Gwandu that he would consider privatising the ports unless the congestion problem improved.

Problems in the NPA's operations include an inadequate amount of cargo handling equipment at terminals and slow inspections by Nigerian Customs and Excise, which had seen an average 20 containers released weekly, rather than the normal average of 500 containers.

As a result, NPA terminals were congested, with no space left for incoming vessels to offload cargo, Vanguard said. Ships were being diverted to neighbouring countries. In addition, the slow release of cargo by customs was compounded by importers who abandoned goods after false declarations are discovered by customs.
MISSISSAUGA, Canada -- Major Canadian forklift and industrial equipment rental company Strongco Inc is selling its forklift business.

Strongco rents, sells and services Nissan and Linde-Baker forklifts in Ontario and Quebec. Strongco has more than 1300 employees and operates a network of more than 80 equipment sales, rental and service branches across Canada and in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

An AOL Canada report said Strongco, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, planned to divest the forklift business and focus on its core industrial equipment rental business. The company currently has annual sales of about USD600 million.

The report quoted Strongco chief executive Larry Pirnak as saying: "We have concluded that the specialised nature of the lift truck business makes it more suited to equipment dealers who see this as their principal line of business."

In April, Strongco announced its first-quarter results and said the weakening economy had slowed industrial equipment sales. The company posted a loss of C1.3 million (USD(r)MD+BO(r)MD-BO585 million).
TOKYO, Japan -- Komatsu Forklift has released an unmanned forklift, dubbed the GGV, that uses chassis-mounted gyro sensors for guidance, rather than floor-mounted tracing wires.

Komatsu said the forklift's gyro sensors confirm position and distance from a central point, enabling the forklift to move along a programmed route, a report in the Nikkei Business Daily said.

Floor plan or transit route changes are programmed into the GGV's control software. As there are no magnetic guide wires, there is no risk of power racks and other warehouse equipment causing navigation malfunctions.

Time and outlay expenses are reduced as the gyro system removes the need to install guide wires in the floor, as with conventional unmanned forklifts, so introducing the machines is seamless, the company says.

Komatsu expects annual sales of 50 systems, with sales targeted primarily at the printing and food industries, which have regular warehouse and plant layout changes.

Meanwhile, Komatsu is planning to consolidate distribution system sales and production at its wholly-owned subsidiary Komatsulift System Engineering, hoping to make the business profitable in fiscal year 2002, a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

Komatsu's distribution equipment sales of such systems as automated storage and retrieval systems total about JPN7.5 billion (USD62.8 million) a year. Komatsu expects to boost this turnover to JPN10 billion (USD83.7 million).
DEARBORN, USA -- An 80-year-old forklift driver has donated more than USD1 million to US universities since 1995.

Mat Dawson, Ford's only surviving employee to have worked under the company's founder, Henry Ford, told Reuters the thrill of having money was being able to give it away.

In six years, Mr Dawson has donated more than USD630,000 to Wayne State University in Detroit, USD300,000 to Louisiana State University, and more than USD300,000 to a community church and funds for the advancement of African Americans.

Mr Dawson has been dubbed the "blue-collar benefactor" and says his financial success comes from a history of wise investment choices, and a relatively frugal lifestyle.

While he gave Reuters no indication of his net worth, Mr Dawson said he was a long-term investor in Ford Motor Co and Detroit-based DTE Energy Co.

Mr Dawson, who still drives a forklift at Ford's Rouge plant, said he intended to "keep on giving" until he died.
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