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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #346 - 07 February 2008 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Volvo Rentals names Heli as preferred vendor.”
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Degenhard: More Asians will join ranking list
The year 2006 was an unprecedented year in terms of the volume of materials handling vehicles produced and sold worldwide, says world ranking list author Wolfgang Degenhard.
In “A Booming Business Spreads its Wings: World Ranking List 2006/2007”, dhf-intralogistik editor Degenhard says experts agree that the growth of international trade and the booming logistics industry, which is dependent on materials handling equipment, have contributed to the growth.
According to dhf-intralogistik’s research, 855,000 materials handling vehicles were sold in 2006/07, 14% more than in 2005/06. The highest growth rates were recorded in the Asian market (19%), followed by Europe (16%) and North America (8%). Eastern Europe grew 36% while Western Europe recorded a 13% growth rate.
The 36% growth rate in Eastern Europe applies to both counterbalanced trucks and warehouse forklifts. Russia, Poland, the Ukraine and the Baltic States had the highest growth rates.
Degenhard points out that the figures provided in his commentary to the world ranking list are “as accurate as possible” but can’t be fully exhaustive as some companies do not publish their net sales and/or earnings. This includes major manufacturers like Fantuzzi and JCB.
Italian forklift manufacturer Lugli, which was ranked 28th in the 2004/05 ranking list but disappeared from the last two lists, could re-emerge as a new company in a future list. Degenhard says the company, which was facing insolvency proceedings, has been acquired by a former dealer and will continue operations under the new name of Lugli Factor.
Shinko, which ranked 34th in the 2004/05 list and was also missing in the more recent rankings, will not be included in any future list as it sold its materials handling activities to Nacco’s Japanese subsidiary, Sumitomo Nacco.
“Reactions from our readership and our own research result in the world ranking list continually changing,” Degenhard explains.
“This time the list has seen three new arrivals – the Chinese company Baoli, the Italian warehousing technology specialist OMG and the German company Magaziner with their multi-purpose turret trucks.”
He adds that for forthcoming ranking lists, the authors expect mainly Asian companies to join the list “provided [they supply] the necessary information”.
“The reason is very simple – the strong economic growth in the Asian area.”
Chinese manufacturers like Dalian, Noblelift and Ningbo were asked to provide company information so that Degenhard and his colleagues could consider them for the latest world ranking list, but they did not respond to the offer.
“I believe there are some more important Asian manufacturers we do not know about,” Degenhard says.
Manufacturers that would like to see their names in the dhf-intralogistik magazine’s annual world ranking list must provide certain information:
Email email@example.com for a copy of “A Booming Business Spreads its Wings: World Ranking List 2006/2007”.
Logistics industry’s hot spot
LONDON, United Kingdom
Spending on logistics and storage in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Russia is predicted to rise 36% by 2012, a new study has found.
London-based market analyst Datamonitor’s latest research, “CEE Logistics Outlook 2008”, estimates annual logistics and storage spending will grow from the current USD272.3 billion to USD369.4 billion by 2012. Growth is forecast to be mainly derived from the region’s growing domestic markets and expanding merchandise exports.
The automotive, consumer goods, electronics and machinery, retail and telecom industries are expected to contribute to the region’s economic growth of an average rate of 5% for the next five years.
Praveen Ojha, Datamonitor’s senior logistics analyst and the study’s co-author, says lenient tax policies and privatisation moves have attracted foreign direct investment into the region.
In the past, the CEE countries were economically unstable and had a low quality of overall transport infrastructure, Ojha says.
But following the EU accession for most CEE countries, improved fiscal management by the governments and foreign direct investment for infrastructure development have helped tackle those challenges, she adds.
Railway infrastructure, the study says, is still under-developed in the region. Only about half of the railway tracks are operating due to poor investment and maintenance.
Most cargo that is suited for transport by rail is being carried by trucks as road infrastructure is well developed. The region’s governments would like to see more foreign investment in railway infrastructure, the report says.
Maritime and rail transport have lost a significant market share to road freight over the last decade but in Poland, Bulgaria and Latvia, there has been an increase in rail freight volumes for that period.
The report says manufacturing and distribution activity is concentrated in several major trading centres like Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia, Poznan, Kiev, Moscow and St Petersburg. In the next five years, other cities will need to develop as distribution and logistics hubs to avoid congestion around those centres.
For the report, the CEE region covered Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Toyota to expand China production
Toyota Industries Corp (TICO) will expand forklift production at its plant in Kunshan, in south east Jiangsu province, to meet its target of selling 12,000 forklifts in China by 2010 (Forkliftaction.com News #345).
TICO will invest about JPY2 billion (USD18.7 million) to boost the Chinese plant’s annual output from 2,000 to 5,000 units. Company officials say the plant will be able to produce up to 7,500 units if it operated at maximum capacity.
The plant’s floor space will also be increased from 6,000 m² (64,583sqft) to 19,500 m² (209,896 sqft).
According to TICO, it has a 3% market share in China, which it wants to increase to 10% by 2010.
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Manitou’s net sales increase despite component sourcing problem
Manitou Group experienced double-digit growth in its 2007 net sales, as it predicted early last year (Forkliftaction.com News #295).
Total equipment sales increased 12% from EUR1,128 million (USD1,651 million) in 2006 to EUR1,263 million (USD1,849 million) in 2007. Sales in France rose 9% from EUR423 million (USD619 million) to EUR463 million (USD678 million) while sales in other EU countries jumped 16% from EUR543 million (USD795 million) to EUR629 million (USD921 million). In “other regions”, sales climbed 6% from EUR162 million (USD237 million) to EUR171 million (USD250 million).
Rough-terrain forklift sales increased 9% to EUR857 million (USD1,255 million) with construction sector sales “holding up” and agricultural sector sales rising. Industrial forklift and warehouse equipment sales rose 33% to EUR89 million (USD130 million).
Manitou’s access platform sales rose 40% to EUR88 million (USD129 million) and revenues generated by services were 34% higher at EUR31 million (USD45 million).
The group experienced production and delivery delays due to difficulties in component sourcing but says the problem is being “stabilised”.
Manitou’s objectives for 2008 include boosting its international presence, consolidating its position as a world-leading manufacturer of rough-terrain forklifts and telehandlers, renewing and expanding its product range, improving its component sourcing, completing reorganisation programmes it initiated two years ago and maintaining margins at high levels.
Achieving these goals would boost Manitou’s consolidates sales by about 10%, the group says.
Manitou will be launching its latest telehandler product, the MHT 10210, at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas from 11 to 15 March.
The telehandler can lift 46,000lbs (20,865kg) at a 36-inch (914mm) load centre and has a maximum lift height of 31’ 8” (9.7 metres). Its capacity at maximum height is 28,600lb (12,972kg) at a 36-inch (914mm) load centre.
The heavy telehandler shares many of the same features as the MHT 10160, which will also be introduced at the trade show (Forkliftaction.com News #343). A Manitou spokeswoman says the MHT 10210 succeeds the MHT 10160 as the “world’s largest rough-terrain telehandler” with its 46,000lb (20,865kg) capacity.
Rental firm names Heli as preferred supplier
ASHEVILLE, NC, United States
Construction equipment rental company Volvo Rents has appointed Heli as its preferred North American vendor for industrial forklift products.
Volvo Rents is a “significant user who had evaluated and utilised other forklift brands in the past but found the combination of Heli features, performance and overall user ‘friendliness’ from a maintenance standpoint to be the best value available,” says Bruce Pelynio, president and chief executive officer of Dobbs Imports LLC (trading as Heli Americas). “This is obviously a significant customer for Heli.”
In January, Volvo Rents and the Heli distribution organisation reached an agreement that allows Volvo Rents franchisees to source the full line of new Heli forklifts to meet customer industrial material handling needs.
Forklifts will be supplied to Volvo Rents locations by Heli Americas of Memphis, Tennessee in 31 states; Southwest Equipment Sales of Denver, Colorado in 19 states; and Heli Canada of Thorold, Ontario will supply Canada.
Volvo Rents of Asheville, North Carolina has more than 70 rental locations in North America and another 70 elsewhere. Volvo Rents is a subsidiary of Volvo Construction Equipment North America Inc, a division of Göteborg, Sweden-based AB Volvo.
Anhui Heli Co Ltd of Hefei, China manufactures the forklifts and is making strides in building its distribution networks in North America, Europe and elsewhere and offering a broader range of Heli forklift models.
Anhui Heli has projected manufacturing more than 40,000 units in 2008, up from last year’s output of 38,500 units. No details were available on the volume of Heli forklifts reaching the North American market.
Kaup launches push-pull attachments
Kaup GmbH & Co KG has introduced the T143S-T146S, T143SA and T145SA push-pull attachments.
The new attachments made exclusively at the Aschaffenburg plant are available globally. A Kaup spokeswoman says when Kaup’s new plant in Xiamen, China is completed, the attachments will be made there for all Australian and Asia Pacific customers.
Their predecessors, T143N-T146N, T143NA and T145NA, were launched at CeMAT 2000 in Hannover.
Silent Night with Yale MP16S
FLEET, United Kingdom
Yale has produced a low-noise pallet truck after receiving a request from a Spanish supermarket chain two years ago.
Mercadona and Erosky was worried that their night-time deliveries to retail stores were disturbing local residents because of the noise of pallet trucks running over uneven surfaces.
Manufactured at Yale’s Modena, Italy development centre, the MP16S low-noise powered pallet truck has a maximum noise level of 65 decibels - or 10 decibels lower than the standard model. It is available in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
OM introduces new electric series
OM has introduced the XE 13-20ac range of three- and four-wheel electric forklifts with load capacities from 1.3 to 2 tonnes.
The forklift range replaces the XE 12-20 series introduced in 2002. Manufactured in Bari, in southern Italy, the new series has new ergonomics, a new powerline and performs better in terms of acceleration, noise level and energy efficiency.
Mitsubishi launches “do-it-all”
READING, United Kingdom
Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks has introduced a “do-it-all” sit-on stacker, the SBS15-20N series, that stacks at heights up to 6.5 metres and works in aisles narrower than a reach truck.
According to Mitsubishi, the forklift, made in Finland, transports goods well over long distances. It replaces a series introduced in 1997 which had DC drive. The new series has the “latest AC drive technology” and is available globally.
Movers & Shakers
Cargotec has appointed Eeva Mäkelä as chief financial officer. She was senior vice president, investor relations and communications, and is a member of the executive board. Mäkelä will be responsible for accounting, finance and risk management in addition to her previous role. Before joining Cargotec in 2005, she was head of investor relations at Metso Corp.
Minna Karhu is now vice president, corporate communications of Cargotec. Karhu was communications director of Cargotec’s MacGREGOR business area. She has worked for MacGREGOR since 1994.
GREENWICH, CT, United States
United Rentals Inc has appointed John J Fahey as vice president – controller. Fahey has over 15 years of financial executive experience. He joined the company in 2005 as vice president – assistant corporate controller. In 2006, he took on the additional role of principal accounting officer and will continue in that role. He has had senior management positions in Xerox Corp and Faulding Pharmaceutical Company.
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Reel turner fitted forklift for safe handling
BURY, United Kingdom
A UK company has designed reel turners that are mounted on the carriages of pedestrian stacker trucks and on a counterbalanced truck’s fork pockets.
The Reel and Shaft Handling Company (RSHC) produced the prototype Reel Lifter Mk3 system after a UK packaging extrusion and printing company commissioned the product. An operator at the company was injured while trying to turn a reel manually. RSHC was asked to design five reel turners capable of handling up to 300kg (661lb) reels by gripping the reels’ cores, ensuring that the outer layer was protected.
RSHC already had a range of overhead hoist-mounted reel handling systems. It made the Mk3 prototype by taking the hoist-based Reel Turner Mk2 system and fitting it to a prototype fork pocket support.
The system was trialed successfully at the customer’s factory. RSHC then designed two different versions of the Reel Turner Mk3, four of which were to be mounted on Armanni “Speedylight” pedestrian stacker trucks’ fork carriages and a fifth to be mounted onto fork pockets. The latter could be used on any warehouse forklift.
Stephen Weston, RSHC managing director, explains that the design process required several key features to be integrated into both models: “There are two key features that should be built into any good reel turner. The first is that it has to grip the reel securely, absolutely 100% of the times it lifts. In our case. we were designing the Reel Turner Mk3 to pick up in the core of the reel. This meant that we had to use a ‘fail-safe’ method of gripping the reel with a spring-engaged chuck, which self-engaged as soon as the operator let go of the release mechanism.
“The second key feature that had to be incorporated was powered rotation, as it would be pointless to put in a piece of handling equipment to lift heavy reels and then ask the operator to struggle to manually rotate the reels.”
Two versions of the carriage-mounted reel turner were developed. One used a hydraulic rotary actuator to turn the reels and the other version, more expensive and chosen by the customer, used a compact 24V DC electric motor and gearbox to power the rotation.
Weston says both systems required “only minor work” to tap into the stackers’ electrical or hydraulic supply. RSHC offers a Reel Turner Mk3 supplied with an Armanni pedestrian stacker that comes with plug-in attachments for both systems.
However, powering rotation on the fork pocket-mounted reel turner was more difficult. The customer’s forklifts had different voltage systems and only several were fitted with extra hydraulics.
The company recognised that future sales could have the same problem, so its designers developed five stand-alone models, each with a different means of powering the rotation: electric-powered from the stacker, electric-powered from its on-board battery, hydraulic-powered from the stacker, hydraulically powered from an on-board hydraulic pump and manually rotated with a hand wheel and gearbox.
Weston says the designs were a result of increasing export enquiries particularly from North America and Australia.
“We decided to make all versions of the Reel Turner Mk3 into compact self-contained units that would be easy to ship and retrofit onto a customer’s own stacker anywhere in the world.”
Doosan company recognised for Bobcat takeover
SEOUL, South Korea
Doosan Infracore’s Construction Equipment BG, which played a key role in the company’s acquisition of Bobcat, has received the Management Innovation Prize at the 2008 Doosan Management Awards ceremony.
The annual ceremony aims to encourage Doosan Group affiliates that perform well including those that post the highest EBIT growth for the past year. This year, the Grand Prize went to Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Power Plant BG, while Doosan Infracore’s Engines & Material BG and SRS Korea received special prizes.
TMHU plants 20,000 trees
IRVINE, CA, United States
Toyota Material Handling USA Inc (TMHU) has announced that 20,000 trees will be planted in national forests damaged by fire or other natural causes through its partnership with Arbor Day Foundation.
TMHU’s agreement with the foundation was to plant a tree for each 8-Series forklift that was sold in 2007. It has also said it is expanding its commitment by donating one tree for every Toyota forklift delivered in 2008. This could result in another 30,000 trees being planted.
Arbor Day Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to inspire people to plant, nurture and “celebrate” trees. For more information, see: www.arborday.org.
Konecranes supplies Petrolesport
Konecranes has signed a contract to supply four rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes to Russian cargo terminal OJSC Petrolesport in St Petersburg.
Petrolesport has ordered 11 RTGs, five are operating while six are being manufactured. Petrolesport is expanding its terminal in the St Petersburg port to accommodate container traffic growth in Russia. The 16-wheel RTGs that were ordered can lift up to 50 tonnes and stack one over five containers high.
The value of the order is confidential and delivery is expected to be completed by early 2009.
Construction show bigger than before
MILWAUKEE, WI, United States
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) estimates that 17 billion pounds (7.7 million tonnes) of equipment and exhibit materials will be on display at the 2008 CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE trade shows in Las Vegas from 11 to 15 March.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008’s combined indoor and outdoor exhibit space is now over 2.293 million sqft (213,026 m²), about 22% more than in 2005.
AEM says trend lines indicate the shows’ attendance is likely to exceed 2005’s attendance total of 125,000 people.
Bendi helps company recover from fire loss
REDDITCH, United Kingdom
Catering equipment company Leon Jaeggi & Sons was able to survive a fire that destroyed its warehouse, offices and stock with the help of a Bendi articulated forklift.
In May 2007, teen vandals set fire to the company’s 32,000sqft (2,973m²) premises. The company had a disaster recovery plan which included focusing on 20 of its largest customers and restoring normal service in three weeks but it had to move into premises one third of the size of its previous site.
Managing director Leon Jaeggi says the business would have failed if supplies could not be delivered to two of the company’s biggest clients several days after the fire. Compounding Jaeggi’s worries was his banker’s opinion that companies like his had a 4% chance of recovering from a catastrophic fire.
The size of the new warehouse was a problem but a hired Bendi forklift enabled the firm to double the storage space compared to that accessible by counterbalanced forklifts.
Previously, in the old warehouse, two counterbalanced trucks worked in 3.6 metre- (11.8 foot) wide aisles, but the articulating Bendi truck could work in 1.6 metre (5.2 foot) aisles.
The company had also considered a reach truck but changed its mind after the main driver could not fit his long legs comfortably in the vehicle.
The Bendi’s ability to load and unload delivery lorries in the yard was also a selling point.
Jaeggi has just replaced the hired Bendi with two new B313 models equipped with side shift and independently moving forks. The forklifts work in 1.9 metre (6.2 foot) aisles, lifting 780kg (1,720lb) up six metres (19.7 feet). The “transfer aisles” are 2.5 metre (8.2 foot) wide.
Jaeggi says the Bendis also had safety benefits: “It is more natural to drive on the basis of where the pallet is rather than where the truck is and you can always see the pallet load when interfacing with the racking beams.”
The Bendi also has no rear-end swing like other forklifts and no protruding front wheel legs typical of reach trucks that could damage racking.
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Forklift operator admits iPhone theft
NEW YORK, NY, United States
A forklift operator at a major US airport is being charged with stealing USD147,000 of Hong Kong-bound Apple iPhones, The New York Sun reported.
Nevar Singh, an employee of a company subcontracted to handle Cathay Pacific Airlines freight, was caught on surveillance tape stealing five boxes of iPhones from a John F Kennedy International Airport warehouse.
Singh admitted to police that he and his cousin, Navin Hussain, had stolen the phones and planned to sell them to a store in the Briarwood section of Queens.
Queens district attorney Richard Browne said Singh and Hussain are being charged with second-degree grand larceny.
UK warehouse hiring forklift drivers
DONCASTER, United Kingdom
Discount supermarket chain ASDA plans to double the workforce at its biggest warehouse in the UK.
According to Doncaster Free Press, up to 450 new jobs - including positions for stock pickers, reach truck drivers, forklift operators and warehouse operation managers - will be created at the Wincanton-run warehouse at Redhouse Business Park in Woodlands.
Doncaster Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise CEO Stephen Shore says Doncaster is the perfect location for a major logistics centre.
“The decision of Wincanton also means other businesses that provide ancillary services to the logistics sector will develop and grow with the Woodlands distribution centre,” he says.
The Redhouse distribution centre currently employs 480 people and was officially opened last July. It handles 600 loads a week destined for ASDA’s 11 regional distribution centres.
Number one in forklifts again
Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) is claiming the number one position in the Australian counter-balance forklift market for the 21st consecutive year.
The company, combining its Toyota Industrial Equipment, BT Lift Trucks and Raymond Forklift brands, sold 4,885 machines in Australia in 2007 for a 28% market share.
According to independent industry statistician, the Australian Industrial Truck Association (AITA), TMHA increased its sales volume by 11.9% compared with its 2006 result.
TMHA enjoyed significantly higher growth than the national forklift market growth of 7.5%, for a total national volume of 17,427 material handling machines.
Toyota was, once again, the national number one for internal combustion counter-balance forklifts in 2007, with 2,719 machines sold and a 29.6% market share.
It was number one in the internal combustion 0.9 to 1.8 tonne payload, with 41.4% market share, and the 2 to 3 tonne payload segment, with 29.9% share.
TMHA also figured strongly in the battery electric market, capturing number one position in both the three-wheel and four-wheel ranges, with shares of 39.6% and 23.6% respectively.
In addition, TMHA sold one in every three narrow-aisle order-picking machines in Australia.
Details on other forklift companies’ sales results for 2007 were not available from AITA. Executive officer Howard Grant tells Forkliftaction.com News that the statistics it gathers on behalf of its members are confidential within the industry.
“However, some members choose to issue media releases - but it is not within the guidelines of AITA to do so.”
Major wharf redevelopment for Newcastle
NEWCASTLE, NSW, Australia
National tenders are being called for the multi-million dollar redevelopment of wharf infrastructure at the former BHP steelworks site in the eastern Australian port city of Newcastle.
The New South Wales government has committed AUD22 million to the project, which will ensure port facilities are available when Sydney's Port Botany reaches capacity.
Construction of the Newcastle wharf will begin in the middle of this year.
National Manufacturing Week 2008 in May
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia
National Manufacturing Week 2008, an annual integrated manufacturing exhibition, takes place at Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour from 27-30 May.
The exhibition covers all major aspects of the manufacturing sector and includes an exhibition, seminars and information sessions and related industry association forums and meetings.
New elements at NMW 2008 include pavilions catering for the automation, electronic, electrical and logistics/materials handling sectors. This follows the announcement in July last year that Manufacturing Technology in Focus (MTIF) and its associated events Automate, Austronics and Electrix would be incorporated within NMW from 2008.
“For exhibitors and visitors, NMW is a proven ‘one-stop show’ from Australia’s leading industrial exhibition organiser, and is now the only event that brings together market leaders from a wide selection of national and international manufacturing communities,” says organiser John Gorton, Reed Exhibitions’ group director – industrial events.
Also new to NMW 2008 will be a fully integrated Logistics, Materials Handling & Distribution (LMHD) pavilion showcasing all the important aspects of logistics, materials handling and distribution, from raw materials to production, through to warehousing.
It will include a comprehensive range of products, services and technologies from Australia and overseas, aimed at making it easy for Australia's manufacturing industry decision-makers to source the latest logistics, materials handling and distribution solutions for their business.
New warehouse park for FPS
BRISBANE, Qld, Australia
Famous Pacific Shipping (FPS) Queensland has moved into the first of 10 large warehouses planned as part of a AUD100 million investment initiative at the Port Gate Estate at Brisbane.
The move into a new one-stop-shop for importers and exporters using the Port of Brisbane allows the company to extend its portfolio of services to shippers, according to FPS Queensland managing director Michele Dougal.
"The Port Gate Estate incorporates office space and a container park and operates as a one-stop-shop for freight forwarding, customs broking and import and export businesses, all on the one complex," Dougal says.
FPS had quickly outgrown its existing purpose-built facility where it moved in 2005, hence the move to the new complex at which the company has access to all the latest warehousing facilities, over 500sqm of new office space and full customs support, including bonded warehousing, a container and vehicle washing facility, as well as an empty container facility.
In Australia, Famous Pacific Shipping has freight hubs in Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney.
Safety seminars for forklift industry
The 2008 Australian Forklift Safety Seminars will be held throughout Australia, with the first one in Victoria on 13 February at Dandenong Club.
Hosts Ausfork, Chep Asia Pacific & Chandler McLeod tell Forkliftaction.com News that the seminars give the industry the opportunity to keep up with legislative changes, the transition in different states to the (VET) systems, new technology, innovations and examples of industry best practice.
According to Daryl Lord of Ausfork, “These seminars have prompted innovations such as Speedshield; and they have provided a forum for individuals and employers to make comment and seek information”.
He adds that the seminars provide a single source reference point for many companies, highlighting ideas and examples of how other companies have overcome forklift-related hazards.
The seminars are designed for small business owners, OHS, HR & Operations managers, supervisors, OHS representatives and others.
Upcoming seminars include:
Challenges but no doom predicted for 2008
Industry analyst and forecaster BIS Shrapnel says engineering construction activity in Australia is set to ease marginally, but will remain at historically high levels throughout the next five years, defying a slowdown in the United States.
“The immediate outlook for engineering construction activity is still very positive, with infrastructure and mining-based construction activity set to grow around 8% to 9% in 2007/08, following similar growth in 2006/07,” says BIS Shrapnel senior economist, Adrian Hart.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show total engineering construction work done rose just under 10% on average in the year to September 2007 to just under AUD 49 billion (in constant 2005/06 prices). However, BIS Shrapnel notes the September quarter figures also include a substantial AUD10 billion commencement in Western Australia’s oil and gas segment - likely to be Woodside’s massive Pluto gas field development.
“With a host of other new projects -- from roads, railways and ports, as well as large investments in water infrastructure -- about to get under way, engineering construction work done is expected to remain at very high levels overall,” says Hart.
The mild easing in engineering construction work done after 2007/08 will be driven by several factors, according to Hart. These include the timing of completion of several very large minerals projects as well as associated infrastructure in port and rail, sustained increases in construction costs and ongoing supply chain difficulties.
Furthermore, current uncertainty in the outlook for global resources demand -- estimated by BIS Shrapnel to have accounted for 60-65% of the upswing in engineering construction over the past five years -- could delay the next tranche of minerals projects.
However, Hart advises against adopting a ‘doomsday’ mentality: “While calendar 2008 will throw up some economic challenges, we do not expect the bottom to drop out of this market anytime soon. We expect growth in China will soften somewhat, but demand for raw materials like iron ore, coking coal and oil and gas should continue along a strong growth path as China continues to direct investment to domestic development. This should continue to drive resources investment in Australia, while mining profits and a sustained economic growth within Australia should keep the financial footing of public works relatively firm.”
Fork load slips, crushes man
CLAYTON SOUTH, Victoria, Australia
Worksafe Victoria has launched a new campaign to remind workers of the need to stay safe on the job for the sake of their families.
The launch coincides with an accident at Clayton South recently in which a 40-year-old man was crushed by three tonnes of glass that slipped off a forkload.
He suffered serious leg injuries and lost a lot of blood.
Executive director John Merritt says it is a timely reminder for all workers to stay safe.
"Since 1985, 60 Victorians have lost their lives in workplace incidents involving forklifts and they are normally where forklifts tip over or the load shifts," he says.
"The people most susceptible are the workers working around those forklifts.
"Victorian workplaces have done a great job to improve this particular issue but this incident reminds us that we all have to be vigilant wherever forklifts occur."
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