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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #277 - 14 September 2006 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Finning leaves forklift business.”
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Dealers unhappy with MCFA factory direct forklifts
HOUSTON, TX, United States
Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc (MCFA) dealers are unhappy about a website offering factory-direct forklifts, initiated by an MCFA-owned dealership.
Last December, Forkliftaction.com News reported MCFA opened its first factory-direct dealership, Lone Star Lift, in Houston, Texas (Forkliftaction.com News #240).
The website, www.factorydirectforklifts.com, says users can “order Mitsubishi forklifts directly from the factory”, “buy at factory prices” and receive service from a “factory-authorised service centre”.
Lone Star Lift sales manager Chad Pilbeam told Forkliftaction.com News the website selling forklifts to retail customers was a dealer initiative, not an MCFA initiative.
“It is a distribution method for Lone Star Lift customers in our territory. It does not compete with other Mitsubishi dealers.
“When Lone Star Lift is successful, we will communicate to other dealers how we’ve been successful using the internet,” he said.
According to an MCFA note circulated to US, Canadian, Central and South American and Caribbean region Mitsubishi Forklift Truck dealer principals, the website is currently being tested in the territories of Lone Star Lift, Houston, and Daily Equipment, Louisiana, Mississippi.
“Since the site is only being marketed in the two test territories, it is unlikely an end user in other territories will know of and access the site,” the note said.
In an email addressed to Cat dealers, obtained by Forkliftaction.com News, an MCFA employee said the company had received “negative comments” about the circular.
The MCFA employee urged dealers to “keep an open mind regarding MCFA testing new marketing tactics” and assured them MCFA had no intention of stealing Cat dealers’ customers.
In 1992, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corp and Caterpillar Industrial Inc pooled their technological and financial resources and established MFCA, in Houston, Texas. The Houston plant manufactures Mitsubishi and Caterpillar forklifts.
A Caterpillar dealer in western US said he had “major concerns” over MCFA selling factory-priced forklifts to end users who did not qualify for national account pricing.
“This is like General Motors quoting you a deal and taking the dealer out of the picture.
“Cat and Mitsubishi dealers want a determination by MCFA as to what they’re going to do.
“We don’t agree with that as dealers. We think that is a major issue. It’s just a little surprising they would do something like that. The manufacturer has become a competitor,” he said.
MCFA could not be reached for comment before Forkliftaction.com News went to press.
Finning sells UK division, leaves forklift market
By Roger Renstrom
Finning International Inc is exiting the forklift business.
A United Kingdom deal, announced on September 11, is expected to close on September 29.
Briggs Equipment UK Ltd has agreed to buy the business and assets of the Finning Group UK subsidiary’s materials handling division for GBP85 million (USD158.6 million). Briggs UK is a subsidiary of Sammons Enterprises Inc, of Dallas, Texas, USA. Other Sammons-owned Briggs entities have significant forklift business operations in the US and Mexico.
Tom Merinsky, vice president of investor relations with Vancouver, Canada-based Finning International, said: “This sale represents a full exit from the forklift market for Finning.”
Discussions between Finning and Briggs extended over several months.
Managers at Briggs had been “pursuing a UK presence for some time”, Nick Lloyd, managing director of Finning Group UK, said. “The UK opportunity intrigued them. They have excellent operational people in UK and use their expertise in another area.”
Lloyd said the transaction would be positive for Finning and Briggs. Briggs gained an existing platform to establish a UK business, and Finning obtained resources it could focus on other opportunities. Finning is among the world's largest Caterpillar equipment dealers. It owns Hewden, the UK’s largest equipment rental business for the construction industry, and Diperk UK, a distributor of Perkins engines and parts.
The Finning UK materials handling division employs about 1,000 people, but its performance has lagged. The unit is the sole UK distributor of Caterpillar counterbalance and warehouse equipment.
Doug Whitehead, Finning president and CEO, said: “The UK financial results were not up to our standards for several years.” Finning determined that materials handling equipment was not among its core businesses.
Mike Waites, Finning executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the sale price was less than the division’s annual revenues. “Sammons Briggs has made a commitment to growing this business.”
Finning UK’s construction equipment division will continue to sell a full range of Caterpillar trucks, loaders and excavators.
Barloworld sells US forklift business
SANDTON, South Africa
South Africa’s Barloworld Ltd has sold its US materials handling equipment lease and loan portfolio to Hyster Capital for ZAR564 million (USD77.3 million).
Barloworld Ltd’s US industrial distribution division, Barloworld Handling, started distributing Hyster forklifts in 2001. Barloworld Handling, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the Hyster dealer for southeastern USA, with more than 30 locations in eight states. Hyster Capital is a joint venture between General Electric Corp and Nacco Materials Handing Group Inc.
Barloworld CEO Tony Phillips said the move was part of the company’s aim to “unlock value where capital was tied up in unproductive assets”.
“There are [several] other projects currently under way … including disposal of our steel tube division and other disposals we will announce in due course,” he said.
Phillips said Barloworld was negotiating with a “partner in the UK” to dispose of the UK leasing book. The deal was expected to be finalised by the end of 2006.
Leasing assets related to the company’s long-term contracts with the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) will be retained, a Barloworld statement said. Barloworld manages more than 6,000 materials handling equipment units on long-term contracts for MOD’s defence logistics organisation. The equipment includes forklifts, tractors, trailers and cranes at more than 600 global establishments (Forkliftaction.com News #62).
Phillips said the leasing books did not generate sufficient returns.
“There are other people who are much better at running leasing books than we are and our approach for some time has been to partner with them, rather than use our own balance sheet in this arena.”
Substantial increase in exhibitor numbers at CeMAT ASIA 2006
– Substantial increase in exhibitor numbers at CeMAT ASIA 2006
– Keynote themes: materials handling, logistics, transportation and warehousing
From 10th to 13th October the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) will be playing host to firms in the fast-growing materials handling and logistics industry. CeMAT ASIA has established itself as the foremost trade show for this sector in the Asian region, bringing the successful CeMAT format – originally developed in Hannover – to the booming Chinese market. This year there will be a record-breaking number of exhibitors: 320 firms will be presenting their innovations and ideas on some 20,000 m² of display area.
For further information for the press, please contact Monika Brandt.
Tel.: +49 (0) 511 / 89-3 16 32
Fax: +49 (0) 511 / 89-3 26 94
Tokyo hosts Asia’s largest materials handling expo
By a Forkliftaction.com reader in Tokyo
Logis-Tech Tokyo, held from September 12 to September 15, at the Tokyo International Exhibition Centre, is the largest materials handling exhibition outside the US and Europe.
Although the biennial exhibition is Asia’s largest, the only overseas forklift OEMs that exhibited were Chinese. Their main products are Class 3 forklifts or pallet trucks.
Visitors to Logis-Tech Tokyo 2006 observed future technologies, including hybrid and fuel-cell forklift applications. Toyota exhibited a fuel-cell prototype and parallel type hybrid model. Nissan’s showcase fuel-cell model had little explanation but, through a louvre under the driver’s seat, a General Hydrogen logo was seen.
Mitsubishi demonstrated a medium-size hybrid model. From its physique, it appeared five tons or more, but the rear wheel size suggested a 3.5 ton model. A Komatsu hybrid prototype appeared close to commercial production since its shape is the same to the new electric series exhibited, not like other concept prototypes.
TCM did not show a hybrid or fuel-cell model, but a giant electric 12-ton prototype with a futuristic appearance.
About 130,000 visitors were expected during the four days and more than 300 exhibitors participated.
Nissan showcases Hydricity pack at Logis-Tech
Nissan Motor Corp showcased a General Hydrogen Corp fuel cell power pack in a Class 1 battery-electric forklift at the Logis-Tech Tokyo exhibition, on September 12-15.
General Hydrogen, of Richmond, Canada, and Gallatin, Tennessee, USA, said it had sold the Hydricity fuel cell power pack to Tokyo-based Nissan.
A unit, Nissan Forklift Corp North America, evaluated leading battery replacement technologies for forklifts and found the General Hydrogen pack’s performance and reliability demonstrations warranted further consideration, a Nissan Industrial Machinery Division spokesperson said.
Each Hydricity pack contains a Ballard Mark 9 fuel cell stack and Maxwell ultracapacitors.
G&W, Tri-Lift NC add Clark lines
LOUISVILLE, KY, United States
By Roger Renstrom
Clark Material Handling Co has appointed G&W Equipment Inc and Tri-Lift NC Inc as authorised distributors for forklifts, parts and service in the Carolinas.
Scott Johnson, director of Clark dealer development, said the G&W appointment, effective from September 1, involved three North Carolina sites, in Charlotte, Raleigh and Hickory, and one South Carolina location, in Columbia.
The Tri-Lift NC appointment, effective from July 28, involved one location in Greensboro, North Carolina.
G&W and Tri-Lift NC succeed now-closed Industrial Truck Sales & Service Inc as Clark distributors (Forkliftaction.com News #260).
Both distributors also represent Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks at the same sites. G&W also represents Mitsubishi in Greenville, South Carolina.
The Sabbagh family owns and operates Charlotte-based G&W, which began operations in the Carolinas in 1963 dealing mainly with aerial lift equipment. John Sabbagh, G&W vice president of sales, said G&W started representing Mitsubishi in 1997.
Tri-Lift NC began operations in 1992 as a branch of Tri-Lift Inc, in Connecticut, and became an independent entity in 2003. Tri-Lift NC began distributing Mitsubishi equipment in late 1996 and Genie-brand equipment, now owned by Terex Corp, in 2001, Bob Bond, Tri-Lift NC president, said.
Johnson said Clark Material Handling, in Louisville, had added products and other dealers.
“Clark has completed the turnaround of its forklift business and is enjoying continued growth and profitability. In the last year, we have introduced several new products to the market, including the 100 –per cent AC TMX three-wheel counterbalanced rider truck and the EXC four-wheel counterbalanced rider truck.”
Clark operated under Chapter 11 protection of the US Bankruptcy Code from April 2000 until January 2003, when Young An Hat Company Ltd, of Buchsan, South Korea, acquired Clark’s assets (Forkliftaction.com News #92).
Forkliftaction.com is going to CeMAT Asia
Rodger Lamb and Patrick Chin will represent FLA at CeMAT Asia in Shanghai 10th to 13th October. Please visit the Forkliftaction.com stand: we will be easy to find in our bright orange shirts at our bright orange stand.
Contact us for a meeting with Rodger or Patrick. English, Cantonese and Mandarin spoken.
Promo offer: Meet us in Shanghai and receive a free ad with your first order!
Forkliftaction.com can assist you with:
- the promotion of your products locally or around the world
- finding new distributors
- selling your used machines
- the development of new business
Contact us for an appointment in China: write to email@example.com
BT triples forklift production
BT Products, of Mjölby, Sweden, has tripled forklift production over the past 15 years with no change in employee numbers, a business-to-business news provider said.
An Esmerk report said BT tripled production volume from 1990 to 2005, and aimed to increase its production capacity from 40,000 units to 60,000 units for 2006 to 2010 “without significant change in employee numbers”.
BT Industries AB group information co-ordinator Ingrid Gyhagen would not confirm the report.
The BT Group celebrated its 60th anniversary in April. A part of Toyota Industries Corp, BT has nearly 9,000 employees, seven production sites in four countries and annual sales of SEK15 billion (USD1,968 million).
Esmerk, founded in Finland in 1975, is a news provider that produces abstracts of articles from international news sources in more than 130 countries. It is a subsidiary of the Helsinki-based media group SanomaWSOY.
Kion ownership clarified by year end
A German newspaper has reported the future of Linde AG's forklift unit, renamed Kion, will be known before the end of 2006 (Forkliftaction.com News #276).
According to Dow Jones International News, Financial Times Deutschland cited a Linde in-house magazine quoting Kion chief executive-designate Hubertus Krossa as saying a decision was imminent on a sale or initial public offering of Kion.
The newspaper reported Linde AG would cut administrative jobs as there was an overlap resulting from the BOC Group plc merger. A Linde spokesperson said 80 of 350 employees would remain in the Wiesbaden headquarters to work in Kion. The new Linde Group headquarters are in Munich, Germany, and Surrey, UK.
Kalmar expands in South Africa, introduces Fleetview
Kalmar Industries South Africa (Pty) Ltd now has a full service team after the Durban-based Kalmar subsidiary merged with African National Engineering’s (ANE) Kalmar service business.
Kalmar Industries South Africa, established this year, is now responsible for sales and service for straddle carriers, RTG cranes and terminal tractors. Kalmar’s other partner, Saficon, will continue selling reach stackers and forklifts.
About 13 ANE staff will join Kalmar Industries South Africa’s staff of seven.
Juhani Lukumaa, from Kalmar Container Handling, said the merger reinforced Kalmar’s desire to partner with South African Port Operations (SAPO) in developing South Africa’s port industry. SAPO facilities’ container volume would approach three million TEU in 2006, a Kalmar statement said.
Last month, Kalmar expanded its automation product range by introducing the Fleetview fleet control system. A GPS receiver, fitted to handling equipment, translates satellite information to pinpoint the equipment’s location before feeding the data to Fleetview in map-form.
A Fleetview user can monitor the equipment’s activity as the map, displayed on the user’s screen, shows the terminal layout and the machine’s movements.
Recycled shipping containers cut building costs
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
By Daphne Haneman
Recycled or unwanted 20 foot and 40 foot steel shipping containers are being converted into office and residential structures around the world, cutting building costs “by half”.
According to a Canadian report, 10 per cent of the world's 65 million steel shipping containers are taken out of circulation each year and set aside for recycling into ”habitainers”, “container homes” or even “saunaboxes”.
At least 50 container conversion projects are in progress in most countries, including the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Poland, Switzerland, Norway, Estonia and Australia, according to a container web resource.
A residential container project in downtown New York, using 70 containers, is due for completion at the end of this year.
It was based on the largest project in London, Container City, where 45 shipping containers were converted to a 34-unit live/work space for artists in 2002.
The London project creator said that, compared with traditional building techniques, construction time and cost was reduced “by half”.
New Zealand-based Addis Containers Ltd co-director Graeme Addis said that, in certain circumstances, container communities risked becoming “disreputable edifices” that could easily “become slums if community discipline was an issue”.
“We don’t want to create ‘chook boxes’ so people can live like ‘battery hens’,” he said.
Although he said “using containers is a way to head off inflated building costs”.
Addis’s company used architectural-grade recycled containers instead of traditional concrete blocks and timber because of cost and structural integrity.
“For us, containers are a replacement structure, a building block and a way to save 40 to 60 per cent of structural costs for high-quality building projects,” he said.
Future Shack is an Australian container prototype built by architect Sean Godsell. It cost about AUD30,000 (USD22,605) “on the road”.
RMIT associate professor of architecture Sand Helsel told Architecture Australia Future Shack was the prototype for “mass-produced, relocatable, emergency and relief housing” for use after events like earthquakes, floods or fires.
Canadian environmental designer Keith Dewey built a container home as a free-standing structure for his family.
"I'm trying to make it feel like a custom-designed home," he said.
With about 650 square feet per floor, he said the house provided “a comfortable 2,000 square feet of living space”. At USD2,500 each, the containers cost less than 10 per cent of the project's estimated USD300,000 budget.
Dewey said shipping containers had useful features.
"We didn't have anywhere to run the wiring so we used the forklift pockets as mechanical chases," he said.
NTP is Fantuzzi agent in Australia
ADELAIDE, South Australia, Australia
By Daphne Haneman
Fantuzzi Reggiane Australasia Pty Ltd has appointed NTP Forklifts Australia as distributor of the full Fantuzzi range in all Australian states.
The Italian Fantuzzi Group of Companies supplies and manufactures port equipment and industrial forklifts. It has factories in northern Italy, Germany and China.
The Fantuzzi Australasia head office is in Castle Hill, Sydney. Fantuzzi general manager Mike Ritchie said Fantuzzi had distributors in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, including Fiji and New Caledonia.
Fantuzzi was established in Australia in 1998 to provide ongoing technical support to owners of Fantuzzi machines in Australasia.
Ritchie said support and maintenance was “crucial” and the “major factor” in the decision to appoint NTP as Australian agent.
He said NTP’s newly appointed national Fantuzzi manager Tony Bennington had about 12 years’ experience with the Fantuzzi brand and “knows the machinery backwards”.
He said the Fantuzzi factory, in Lentigione, Italy, often sent staff to Australia to train Australian distributors.
NTP will distribute the complete range of Fantuzzi 10-tonne to 70-tonne forklifts, container lift trucks, reach stackers, side loaders, and container lift trucks in Australia.
A Fantuzzi statement said that, in the last six years, 120 Fantuzzi and Noell units had been distributed in Australasia.
MLA Holdings previously distributed the Fantuzzi range in Australia and that arrangement ceased in January 2006.
Ritchie said an additional New Zealand distributor would be announced in a few months.
Failure to fix faulty forklift ends in tragedy
LAUNCESTON, Tasmania, Australia
By Daphne Haneman
Australian Food Group (AFG) has been found guilty of failing to maintain a Hyster 1.54 XL forklift in safe working condition at a Tasmanian meatworks and was fined AUD70,000.
The Tasmanian Supreme Court Appeal Court found the forklift, which rolled, killing 16-year-old forklift operator Matthew Hudson, had several faults including no tyne stop bolt, cylinder leaks, ineffective brakes, and bald, under-inflated tyres. It was being operated on uneven ground. The court found Hudson was operating the forklift without supervision.
FRM Toyota, in Tasmania, had serviced the forklift on May 3, 2004, and provided a service report referring to several faults. They included “tyre pressure should be 100-110 psi; were LHF50, LR60, RHF60, RR64”, “handbrake not holding – LH cable seized”, and “flashing light not working”.
Two months after the service report, on July 12, 2004, Hudson was killed.
The court found Hudson was reversing the forklift on uneven ground when the right-hand wheels became elevated. Because the forks were raised, the forklift fell onto its left-hand side, causing Hudson’s fatal injuries.
The court found that, from July 1 to July 12, 2004, the meatworks made “no attempt to rectify the faults identified in the FRM service report or replace worn components”.
It noted there was nothing in the service report that stressed the need for immediate repairs.
“There was nothing in that report which obviously defined, in any way, the level of urgency required [for] the repairs identified, or told [AFG], for example, ‘we recommend this equipment not be used until’ certain repairs were carried out because it was unsafe. The only indication of urgency could have been derived from the nature of the faults identified and the words ‘requires attention’.”
In June 2006 the Tasmanian Supreme Court had convicted AFG of breaches of the Tasmanian Workplace Health & Safety Act 1995 and fined the company AUD25,000.
Last week Hudson’s parents appealed against the decision, asking for a harsher penalty and the Supreme Court Appeal Court fined AFG AUD70,000.
Supreme Court Justice Shan Tennant said AFG had upgraded safety standards since the incident.
AFG CEO Darren Vincent said the company would consider lodging a further appeal.
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TCM’s All-New Three Wheel Electric Lift Trucks
TCM’s new FTB16-7 and FTB18-7 Class 1 Electric Three Wheel Lift trucks are clean sheet designs engineered to increase your operation’s productivity and profitability. Optimized to deliver reliable day-to-day performance, they also feature improved safety, easy operation, and reduced maintenance as top priorities. Their state-of-the-art features include: Move more material quicker and with greater control + Reduce your cost of operation with simplified maintenance. Read More...
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
AUSA's NEW C 300-350 H
The new C 300-350 H is a compact rough-terrain forklift with hydrostatic transmission. It has a maximum lift capacity of between 3 and 3.5 tons and its range of masts endows it with a maximum fork height of over 3 meters. Its 4X4 traction and range of tires enables it to easily reach any site, a critical factor in selection, especially in areas characterised by adverse climatic conditions. In addition to incorporating a comfortable cabin with the most innovative advances in terms of safety...
Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.
Rob Vetter: Training is not just for operators
BLAINE, WA, United States
A colleague read an article in the Seattle Times that described the high turnover rate among forklift operator jobs as being “…characteristic of jobs requiring little or no prior or formal training”. This assertion is wrong.
Click here for the full Safety First feature, including pictures.
Europart, headquartered in the Kartal district, Istanbul, Turkey, produces forklift spare parts for all brands. Europart is different to competitors because forklift spare parts are not just a line of business; they are its business.
Click here for the full Industry Profile feature, including pictures.
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