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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #336 - 15 November 2007 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“US forklift company opens University.”
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Doosan creates USD50M company for Bobcat
SEOUL, Korea, South
Doosan Group will invest about USD50 million to establish a new company that will own and control the intellectual property rights of Bobcat.
Doosan-owned construction equipment and forklift manufacturer, Doosan Infracore, signed an agreement to buy Bobcat for USD4.9 billion, making the deal possibly South Korea’s largest overseas acquisition (Forkliftaction.com News #321). Doosan expects to complete payment this month, a company spokeswoman tells Forkliftaction.com News.
The new company, Doosan Techno Holding Company, is planned to open on 15 November but details of the structure are currently confidential, the spokeswoman says.
The establishment of Doosan Techno is in line with Doosan’s plans to transform itself into a holding company by early 2009. Doosan says in a statement the acquisition of Bobcat and the establishment of the new company are part of its plans to “make overseas investments to secure stable revenue sources”. Forkliftaction.com News reported last year that Doosan, the largest shareholder of forklift manufacturer Doosan Infracore, wants to convert into a holding company to improve its transparency
(Forkliftaction.com News #250).
On 28 October, Doosan Group announced it was transferring its magazine business to its subsidiary Oricom Co Ltd and spinning off the Tower business unit and Bio Resources business unit.
Doosan’s business activities are diverse, ranging from power plant construction and water desalination to publishing and shopping malls. Tower specialisies in building leases and is being spun off into Doosan Tower Co Ltd. The Bio Resources business, specialising in fodder, is spinning off into Doosan Fodder Co Ltd.
The spin-off and transfer of the three business units will reduce Doosan’s debts by KRW380 billion (USD416 million) and its assets by KRW420 billion (USD456 million) and will “strengthen the companies’ businesses and enhance their managerial efficiency while maximising business and shareholder value”, Doosan’s spokeswoman says.
“To convert into a holding company, the debt ratio must be under 200%. Through Doosan’s corporate division project, Doosan corporate debt ratio will decrease rapidly.”
Doosan says it is also eliminating its “circular equity investment structure” as part of its efforts to convert into a holding company.
The spokeswoman says circular equity investment structures are common in Korean companies.
Under these arrangements, the biggest company in the group invests in another subsidiary and then this subsidiary invests in another subsidiary and finally a subsidiary invests in the biggest company, she explains, saying the new structure will obviate this practice.
Linde UK finds going tough
LONDON, United Kingdom
Linde Material Handling (UK)’s pre-tax losses rose 33% to GBP3.1 million (USD6.3 million) in 2006 compared with 2005, despite a 26.9% sales rise to GBP320 million (USD656 million). After tax, the loss was GBP5.3 million (USD10.8 million) while in 2005, it recorded a loss of GBP600,000 (USD1.23 million).
There is no dividend for the year.
The company’s directors cite “significant increases in the cost of materials and supplies” and also highly competitive market conditions impacting the year’s results.
German-owned until last year, Linde MH (UK) is Britain’s biggest forklift manufacturer, with its main production plant at Basingstoke, acquired in 1989 when Linde took over the indigenous Lansing Bagnall.
Last year, however, the Linde group sold its worldwide forklift operations to a private equity group headed by KKR and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for EUR4 billion (USD8.2 billion) and renamed the group Kion. Its strategy, like most private equity groups, is to sell the group through an IPO several years down the line after improving its profits. Kion’s owners, however, may find that extremely difficult in an industry used to poor returns. The reason is competitive pressures, despite all the consolidation that has gone on in recent years.
Since 2001, the company has racked up accumulated losses of GDP22.5 million (USD46.1 million) in the UK, despite having sales per employee more than twice the industry average. One clue to the company’s dismal performance could be its generous average employee salary bill of GBP 38,000 (USD78,000), well above the industry average. But a source within the industry alleges that Linde hurried the formation of its contract management department, which subsequently ran out of control and racked up multi-million pound losses, leading to significant staff departures.
It also seems clear that the company has been chasing sales growth at the expense of margins, despite raising truck prices last year.
Following industry speculation earlier this year about management reassessments, Linde confirmed to Forkliftaction.com News that “the UK management is continuously reviewing its business plans in order to improve the performance, efficiency and customer satisfaction.”
Given the dismal profits record, some shake-up seems long overdue. The 2006 accounts show negative working capital of GBP76.4 million (USD56.7 million) and net assets of only GBP43,000 (USD88,000), having fallen from GBP10.9 million (USD22.3 million) in 2005. When pension liabilities of GBP6.1 million (USD12.5 million) are deducted, there is a shareholders’ deficit of GBP6.06 million (USD12.4 million).
Global market grew for first nine months
HAMBURG, Germany and SUNNINGHILL, United Kingdom
Global demand for materials handling equipment grew 8% in the third quarter of 2007.
The nine-month January-September period saw the global market swell from 632,000 units to 696,000 units, according to World Industrial Truck Statistics data cited in a Jungheinrich press release.
Europe was a strong growth driver, recording a rise of 18%. Eastern Europe achieved an increase of 44%, outpacing Western Europe’s growth momentum of about 14%.
The Asian market expanded by about 15% and China grew about 21%.
North America shrunk by 12%. However, the downward trend lessened in the third quarter.
Jungheinrich board of management chairman Hans-Georg Frey is optimistic about the coming year.
“So far, 2007 has been exceptional for both our sector and Jungheinrich. We expect the market to post further growth in 2008, albeit with less momentum.”
Net sales for Jungheinrich AG jumped 15% from EUR1.249 billion (USD1.83 billion) to EUR1.435 billion (USD2.104 billion) for the first nine months of 2007. The group’s new truck business displayed the largest growth at 19%, followed by the short-term hire and used equipment business (15%), while after-sales business grew 7%.
Meanwhile, the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) has released half yearly sales figures showing rising demand for some forklift types in the UK.
During the first quarter of 2007, the powered pallet trucks market grew 18.6% and the engine counterbalanced forklift market grew 9.3% compared to last year’s corresponding period.
In the second quarter, powered pallet truck orders increased 15% over the previous year. Engine counterbalanced forklift orders jumped 6.7%.
BITA members reported 31,700 unit orders for the 12 months to the second quarter of 2007. This figure is close to the 32,000 trucks reported for the 12 months to the third quarter of 2005, a “peak period” for the UK market.
Not all forklift types saw an increase in demand. Electric counterbalanced forklifts, reach trucks and low-level order pickers declined in the first quarter of 2007, but grew 2.4%, 3.7% and 1.9% respectively in the second quarter.
BITA’s Truck Suppliers’ Group members report details of UK orders and deliveries each month. The aggregated monthly and year-to-date figures are available on a confidential basis to all contributing members.
BITA’s Components and Services Group receives a monthly statistical overview with the option to purchase detailed information.
The association claims its 82 member companies manufacture and distribute over 90% of all new forklifts procured in the UK each year. Members include forklift manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and media operating in the UK.
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Forklift parts company opens “university”
OLATHE, KS, United States
Forklift parts company Systems Material Handling (SMH) has opened a “university” to equip existing staff and train new members working in materials handling dealerships.
SMH vice president of sales and marketing Dirk von Holt came up with the idea after frequent visits to customers.
Marketing manager Jeannette Robinson says von Holt realised there was a lack of specific training for the materials handling industry.
“Dealerships needed a resource that not only offers additional training to existing staff but (also) to train new employees entering the industry.”
The school, named “SMH University”, is more like a training centre where students attend seminars at SMH facilities in Kansas and Illinois and are given certificates of completion at the end of each course.
Seminars are led by SMH employees and industry members with “many years of experience”, Robinson says.
She adds that the school conducts one to two seminars a month and can cater for 1,000 students a year. Classes are held at the new SMH corporate headquarters in Olathe, Kansas built two years ago and at the training facilities of its Illinois office (Forkliftaction.com News #244)
The first program on “Electric Truck Training” that included forklift technicians from six companies was held over four days in September in Kansas. All of the technicians who attended graduated from the course, Robinson says.
SMH currently has three different programs targeted at forklift technicians, parts counter staff, parts managers, service managers, and sales managers.
The SMH University programs are:
• Electric Truck Training
Session 1: Industrial Electronics for Electric Vehicles
Session 2: Motor Controls in General & SCR Controls for Electric Vehicles
Session 3: “Hands-on” Troubleshooting SCR & Transistor Motor Controls
Session 4: AC Transistor Control Systems & Troubleshooting
• Spectrum Series II Fuel Management
Explanation of new legislation and regulations governing engine emissions as adopted by the EPA and the California Air Resources Board.
Includes hand-on training on system components, operation and tools.
Attendees are shown diagnostics and display screens and plug into a live running spectrum engine as part of a hands-on session.
• Train the Trainer
Training on how to train other employees and customers more efficiently.
Includes in-depth training on SMH’s IRMN 5.1 online parts ordering program.
A new way to bag and ship
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia
An Australian company has developed an innovative alternative to packaging and shipping products via bulk bag and pallet.
Sydney-based Tellap has designed a pallet-less bulk bag that features two integrated plastic sleeves which receive the forklift tines, replacing the need for a pallet in many applications.
Explains MD David Dickinson: “We kept hearing about the problems companies had when using standard bulk bags and pallets such as instability, contamination, pallet disposal and exchange costs, transporting dead weight, etc. and decided to research the possibility of a viable alternative to the bag and pallet.”
“The Tellap system is an effective alternative, requiring a single operator. Tellap bulk bags are raised from the base and the forklift tines are inserted into the integrated sleeves as they would a pallet. The only difference is that Tellap does not need a pallet. Because it is carried from the base, it provides a safe, low centre of gravity and plenty of vision for the driver.”
He tells Forkliftaction.com News that the Tellap system is OHS–friendly, as the driver doesn’t need to leave the forklift to lift straps or adjust a pallet. “It is more stable than a bulk bag and a pallet in both storage and transport, and therefore easier and safer to load/unload.”
Products ideally suited for this type of transportation include dry bulk flowable products; plastics and pellets; various chemicals, food such as sugar, salt, flour, starch, milk powders; refractory products such as ceramics, clays, lime, powdered metals; agricultural products such as seed, grain, beans, nuts; pharmaceutical products; and ferro-alloys.
According to Dickinson, the Tellap sleeves can be removed from the bag and reused, and are ideally suited for export purposes as the system complies with ISPM15 and therefore does not need fumigation or heat treatment. In addition, it is hygienic for transporting foodstuffs or products susceptible to contamination.
He adds that the product has been successfully independently tested to the flexible intermediate bulk container standard AS 3668 and because the sleeves are recyclable, the company’s objective is to implement a closed loop system.
Other benefits are the weight and space savings as Tellap sleeves are one third the size of a pallet and only 10% of the weight. “This product reduces the number of forklift movements as the driver does not need to bring pallets to the filling station.”
The company is exploring RFID technology to carry information required by the supply chain and information regarding the Tellap bag including product and warehouse information.
The bags are currrently manufactured in factories in South Africa, the USA and China although Tellap is in talks with an Australian company to manufacture the sleeves locally.
Kalmar launches new ECH
Kalmar Industries has introduced the DCF80-100 empty container handler.
Kalmar product line manager Dan Pettersson says the DCF80-100 has “a more powerful powertrain, increased reliability of components, fast and efficient diagnostics and troubleshooting, and enhanced safety and green credentials”.
The F-generation unit is based on the same modular platform as Kalmar’s DRF reach stacker and is available with a hook or twistlock attachment.
Linde expands counterbalanced range
Linde Material Handling has introduced a three-wheel, two-tonne (4,409lb) forklift to its E12-E20 electric counterbalanced forklift range.
There are 16 models in the range, offering lifting capacities from 1.2 to 2.0 tonnes (2,646lbs to 4,409lbs), varying in driver’s seat height and coming in three- or four-wheel versions for different ground conditions.
The three-wheel E20L is ideal for indoor use and its low access height makes it easier for drivers to get in and out to perform order picking.
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Kalmar’s major Latin American order
Kalmar Industries has received orders for 13 DRF450 reach stackers, four DCE90 empty container handlers and 18 Ottawa 4x2 terminal tractors from global terminal operator International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI).
All machines except for three reach stackers have been delivered to Contecon Guayaquil SA (CGSA), the container and multi-purpose terminal operator at Ecuador’s Port of Guayaquil.
Gaston Chirpy, Kalmar’s Latin American area sales director, says ICTSI and Kalmar have had a long-term partnership.
“Because ICTSI is so familiar with the quality of Kalmar’s equipment and the standard of our after-sales service, opting to equip its new Ecuador facility with Kalmar products was the natural choice.
“We work with and have delivered equipment to ICTSI at a number of its facilities around the world including Baltic Container Terminal in Gydnia, Poland and its flagship facility, Manila International Container Terminal in the Philippines.”
CGSA director of engineering Gustavo Cercos says it was important that Kalmar guaranteed a quick delivery time for the machines. The remaining three reach stackers will be delivered by early 2008.
The order value was not disclosed.
ICTSI was awarded a 20-year operating concession for the container and multi-purpose terminals in Guayaquil by Autoridad Portuario de Guayaquil in March 2007.
According to Kalmar, the Guayaquil facility handles about 65% of Ecuador’s containerised, general and bulk cargo.
Reach stackers have traditionally been the highest-selling products in Latin America but there is an increasing demand for rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), Kalmar says.
Twelve Kalmar E-One RTGs will be delivered to Santos Brazil SA between September 2007 and January 2008. Other E-One RTG customers include the Port of Trinidad and Tobago, Neptunia SA in Peru, Terminal Pacifico Sur Valparaiso SA in Chile and Buenos Aires Container Terminal in Argentina.
Toyota aids with USD2million
IRVINE, CA, United States
Toyota Material Handling USA Inc (TMHU) has donated USD25,000 and 13 forklifts to the American Red Cross for its relief efforts during the Southern California wildfires.
Parent company Toyota and TIEM also donated, bringing the three companies’ donation total to USD2 million. TMHU matched 50% of its employees’ donations.
Winter games sponsorship
Ritchie Bros will be sponsoring the 2008 Alberta Winter Games taking place from February 14 to 17, 2008 in Leduc, Alberta.
Regional manager Brian Glenn says it’s a “great opportunity” to give back to the community and to support the athletes.
Ritchie Bros has been conducting auctions in Leduc County for over 30 years.
Sentencing for safety flouting managers
TRENTON, NJ, United States
A foundry and its four managers will be sentenced in April 2008 nearly two years after they were convicted of workplace safety and environmental laws violation.
The Express-Times reported that a cover-up involving a forklift accident in 2000 that killed foundry worker Alfred “Alfie” Coxe, 47, was a major part of the case.
Testimony showed the cover-up included misleading federal safety inspectors by fixing the forklift’s faulty brakes and staging a fake demonstration hours after Coxe’s death.
Thieves take two telehandlers
More than GBP212,000 (USD439,454) worth of agricultural machinery was stolen from a compound on Salisbury Plain last Wednesday.
The thieves took two tractors and two telehandlers after breaking into the secure compound of an agricultural engineering company, Salisbury Journal reported.
Witnesses to the incident are asked to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
New show in the UK
Birmingham, United Kingdom
New transport and logistics expo Multimodal 2008 will be held from April 22 to 24, 2008 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
The exhibition and conference will focus on issues facing the UK industry including infrastructure congestion, environmental sustainability, multiple demands on dwindling land resources and increasing security restraints.
For more details, check Forkliftaction.com’s events calendar.
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AmeraMex lands USD4 million container handler order
CHICO, CA, United States
AmeraMex International has received a USD4 million order for Taylor laden container handlers.
The 80,000lb (36,287kg) forklifts can stack laden containers up to six high and is expected to save “significant dock space” and improve the efficiency of loading and unloading containers for AmeraMex’s client.
“While the stevedoring industry is expanding its fleets to accommodate the growth of imports into the US, companies in the industry are also replacing equipment using engines equal to or greater than 100hp,” says AmeraMex CEO Lee Hamre.
The Taylor machines are Tier III-compliant, meet GPA guidelines and will be delivered to the “large global container transportation and logistics service provider” in 2008.
AmeraMex is keeping quiet about the number of units ordered and the name of its customer.
Youth taught a lesson with forklift
A teenager caught loitering “suspiciously” in a vehicle recovery yard found himself on the wrong end of a forklift.
In an incident captured on closed-circuit TV, the manager of AAA Recovery in Leyland, Lancashire, Steven Marchbank, and his employee, Michael Prescott, tied up the youth and used a forklift to dangle him in the air, The Liverpool Echo reported.
However, the punishment was not without its consequences and the two men found themselves in Preston Crown Court, where they admitted to actual bodily harm assault.
Robert Elias, the prosecutor, told the court Marchbank and Prescott wanted to teach the teenager a lesson.
Both were granted bail and will be sentenced on December 20.
Forklift sector unaffected by election
With business conditions at record levels and soaring profits the order of the day, Forkliftaction.com News conducted a snap poll among players in the forklift industry to canvass views about the impending election and potential impact of the different parties’ policies.
Tom Naffine, national marketing manager of NTP Forklifts Australia, is pragmatic about a possible change in government. “I don’t believe there is much difference between the parties in terms of how their policies will affect business conditions. Our industry is more affected by global conditions than domestic politics.
“An issue such as climate change does, of course, affect us in terms of our agri-business, but I doubt that a change in environmental policy, whilst still an important policy matter, will really affect what happens in the regional areas in the next two to three years.”
Wayne Franklin of Calmat is concerned about the possibility of Labor getting into government, and says the upcoming election period is having a dampening effect on business. “Things are incredibly quiet at the moment, which typically happens when an election is coming up.”
He believes that business confidence will fall if Labor gets in - although most people will continue to run their business as best they can. “I am bemused by indications that people are preparing to throw out a government that’s brought fairly stable and prosperous times for most of us.”
Franklin predicts that the forklift industry will see the impact of a Labor government through a slow-down in sales of equipment. “People will start to rent and repair rather than purchase new forklifts.”
Although not a political animal, Michael Coppola, sales manager for attachment company Sattach, says he’s quite happy with the way things are. “We’ve had exceptionally good years recently and my feeling is rather the devil you know!”
Scott Geelan, national sales manager for Cascade, says he’s a fence-sitter. “I honestly haven’t given it a scrap of thought, and quite frankly, the way the economy is going, I don’t think what either party is saying will make any difference to what’s driving the economy.”
A forklift dealer who preferred to remain anonymous says he believes from a business perspective that there would not be a lot to look forward to under a Labor government. “If Labor gets in, there’ll be more union control which will result in wage increases which will roll through to higher inflation, and it’s just a pity that many of the voters are too young to have that historical knowledge of what happens under a Labor government.”
A spokesperson from one of the major forklift dealers, who also preferred to remain anonymous, tells Forkliftaction.com News that a change in government would have a negligible effect on the forklift industry because the industry is really affected by the world economic market, rather than domestic policy. However, he warns that increased union power would negatively affect business in general as unions have been guilty of bargaining away the rights of workers for the benefit of themselves.
On the periphery of the forklift industry, James Tennant of Easy Guides Australia comments that a change in government shouldn’t have any real effect on general business conditions. However, he points out that the recent workplace reforms have made it difficult for workers to bargain collectively. “When times are good, as they have been, it’s not a problem, but if we should enter a recession, lower skilled workers are more likely to be negatively affected.”
Battling Budget could be bargain buy
Over 20 parties have expressed interest in purchasing the business and assets of embattled forklift company Smeaton Forklifts, trading as Budget Forklifts NSW, which was placed under voluntary administration on 31 October.
The deadline for offers has now been extended to 23 November by administrator Peter Hillig of Smith Hancock.
He tells Forkliftaction.com News that the forklift company owes an estimated $2.7 million to creditors which comprise two secured and around 30 unsecured entities.
Total assets are confidential but are believed to comprise around 118 forklifts, its business name and goodwill.
The creditors, who met on 7 November, declined to form a Committee of Creditors, and have accepted Smith Hancock as administrator. The second meeting of creditors is scheduled for 27 November.
According to Hillig, the business was purchased at the end of 2003 for $2.7 million, including $1 million for goodwill. “The sale of the company’s business and assets represents an opportunity for someone to add to their fleet and pick up new customers.”
Budget Forklifts NSW is in no way related to Budget Forklifts of Western Australia, says MD of the latter, Tim Leunig. “There is no relation between the two companies whatsoever. Budget Forklifts WA has been trading successfully since 1968 and will continue to do so,” he tells Forkliftaction.com News.
Pallet supplier’s biggest deal to date
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia
Brambles’ CHEP division will supply crates to Australia's biggest retailer, Woolworths Ltd, in a new six-year deal that will double CHEP's so-called "fresh" business.
CHEP Asia Pacific president Howard Wigham says the agreement is the company’s biggest to date in the Asia Pacific region.
Under the deal, CHEP will supply and manage the delivery of collapsible produce crates to Woolworths’ vendors, who will in turn pack them with produce for distribution to Woolworths supermarkets in Australia and New Zealand.
The agreement covers the supply, tracking, retrieval and inspection of used crates, and the repairing, washing and relocating of the crates for their next use. The reusable, returnable and recyclable crates will carry produce from farms to supermarket shelves.
As part of the undertaking, CHEP plans to upgrade its crate-washing service centre network with recycling systems that cut water usage and sewer discharge by up to 90%.
Firm fined for forklift injury to woman
LOXTON, SA, Australia
A Riverland fruit-packing firm has been fined $22,000 over a series of safety failures which led to a woman being permanently disabled after a forklift ran over her foot and crushed it.
BP Fruits received its penalty in the SA Industrial Relations Court last Friday after earlier pleading guilty to one count of breaching section 19(1) of the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986, in failing to ensure that an employee was safe from injury and risks to health.
The incident occurred at the company’s Loxton packing shed in August 2005 as the woman attempted to cross the shed. SafeWork SA’s investigation found that:
• walkways for pedestrians were not adequately marked,
• staff members were not properly instructed in relation to the risks,
• the relevant safety induction training was inadequate,
• the operator of the forklift was not accredited to operate the vehicle,
• the operator was not under supervision at the time of the incident.
Industrial Magistrate Richard Hardy acknowledged the Victim Impact Statement and medical reports, which indicated the woman was left with permanent residual disability of 25% of her lower leg.
“It has clearly had an ongoing effect on her life and her relationships…
“The level of risk posed was, in my view, somewhat higher and more serious than indicated by the injuries sustained by (the woman); in other words, a more serious injury was quite foreseeable. While the firm fully co-operated with authorities and has greatly improved its safety procedures since the incident, SafeWork SA warns that forklifts are a constant source of danger in workplaces.
“Even now, any forklift operator in South Australia must be assessed as competent by a properly qualified assessor,” says SafeWork SA executive director Michele Patterson.
“Next year however, this arrangement will be further strengthened by the introduction of a national licensing standard which will require all forklift operators in SA to be licensed by SafeWork SA from 1 July.
“We sincerely hope that these rigorous standards on the operation of forklifts will prevent any further incidents of this kind as much as possible,” she adds.
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SMH opens a new addition
On September 25 2007 SMH celebrated the “Grand Opening” of its Phase II expansion. With the 100,000 square foot expansion SMH Headquarters has nearly doubled in size.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
MERLO seeking to expand its Australian distribution
Leading Italian telehandler specialist Merlo Group is seeking to expand its local distribution and customer support with the appointment of a dealer in Melbourne.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
TIRE-SAVER new “N” series for Forklifts
KEYTROLLER ’s TIRE-SAVER new “N” series device is now quick fit-- “plug and play”-- for new model Toyota, Cat, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Doosan, and Komatsu lift trucks. It will install in minutes, allowing salesmen to demonstrate the effectiveness of the device to their customers quite easily.
Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.
James Song, Clark Material Handling International
BUCHEON, Korea, South
James Song, the head of Clark Material Handling International, starts his work day by checking emails and browsing through Korea’s leading business and financial newspaper, the Korea Economic Daily.
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