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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #373 - 14 August 2008 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
Cascade sues Trading Point over trademark
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Calvi unit acquires Lift Technologies
Guelph, ON, Canada
A unit of Calvi Holding Srl of Lecco, Italy has acquired Guelph-based Lift Technologies Inc, a maker of masts, carriages, integral sideshifters and fork positioners - mostly for original equipment manufacturers. Terms were not disclosed.
Together, all Calvi and Lift Technologies operations have annual sales of USD650 million.
The acquisition enables Lift Technologies to further grow globally, says Bill Harrison in a statement. Harrison has been the firm’s chairman, chief executive owner and major owner.
LTH Srl, a Calvi subsidiary, made the purchase. LTH’s board is expected soon to appoint Konrad Ostmeier as the new Lift Technologies CEO and David McBride as chief financial officer and name both to the LTH board.
Ostmeier is managing director of Lift Technologies subsidiary Lift-Tek Elecar Srl in Castel San Giovanni, Italy and, upon appointment, will have responsibility also for Lift Technologies operations in Guelph and Westminster, South Carolina, USA. McBride has served as Lift Technologies CFO since the company’s founding in 1999.
Brian Lamb, Lift Technologies president and chief operating officer for North America, will remain in his current capacity and report to Ostmeier.
“The synergies between the companies position this new materials handling supply group to meet the future demands of our complex industry,” Harrison notes.
The technical, industrial and commercial synergies will provide forklift truck and material handling equipment manufacturers with a wide range of products and solutions, says Richardo Chini, Calvi chairman and CEO, in a statement. He calls the combined businesses “a unique entity on a world scale.”
Primarily, Lift Technologies makes masts of two, three, four and five stages with carriages and integral sideshifters with capacities in the range of 1-50 metric tons. Also, the firm supplies specialized container handling masts. Lift Technologies employs more than 400 persons.
Lift Technologies is completing the move of production of integral sideshifters and carriages from Guelph to Westminster and, recently, added the capability for mast rail machining in Westminster. Previously, the firm bought that work from others.
With the changes, Lift Technologies aims to reduce its overhead and freight costs and increase plant efficiency.
Calvi operates Hoesch Schwerter Profile GmbH of Schwerte, Germany, Siderval Spa of Talamona, Italy and other producers of profiles used in the materials handling industry.
DAC’s collapse heralds tough times
London, United Kingdom
Analysis by Bill Redmond
Reflecting tightening conditions in the UK forklift market, DAC Handling Solutions Ltd, Britain’s largest independent distributor for the Still forklift product range, went into administration on July 18 but its assets were quickly acquired by Still Materials Handling, DAC’s largest creditor, on July 21 for an undisclosed, substantial sum. DAC’s debts were not part of the Still purchase.
DAC employed over 200 people in the UK, spread over eight depots, but there is no indication yet of any compulsory redundancies.
Tom McCloy, MD of Still Materials Handling Ltd, is standing down with immediate effect but will remain in an advisory capacity to help with the integration until he retires towards the end of this year. He is being replaced by Nick Smith from DAC.
A common problem in the UK forklift industry is the unrealistic residual values placed on used forklifts and DAC is a good example of this. The DAC board had instigated a restructuring plan to remove excess overheads and operational inefficiencies following a dismal performance in the financial year ending January 31, 2007, the latest year for which accounts were filed. This showed that despite a 14.6% sales rise to GBP30.87 million (USD57.73 million) there was a retained loss of GBP1.38 million (USD2.58 million) after exceptional items of GBP1.58 million (USD2.95 million).
The exceptional items reflected a write-down in used truck values to ensure that future depreciation charges in the business reflected a true economic cost through their useful life. Some of its contracts included part-exchange values for trucks that were higher than market values. It is also clear from DAC’s accounts that its negative working capital of GBP5.6 million (USD10.47 million), up sharply from GBP3.29m (USD6.15 million) in 2006, was placing a strain on the balance sheet, thus emphasising its determination to sell used trucks to realise cash and improve working capital. The board recognised, however, that these changes would yield a negative result for the year ended January 31, 2008.
DAC had been struggling in the UK for some years. Its best year since 2001 was in 2004, when pre-tax profit was GBP1.12 million (USD2.09 million), since when they collapsed to just GBP34,000 (USD63,590) in 2005 and GBP86,000 (USD160,850) in 2006. Shareholders’ funds were reduced to just GBP2.24 million (USD4.18 million) in 2007, dwarfed by net bank debt of GBP4.18 million (USD7.81 million).
According to the latest research by Plimsoll Publishing, some 50 of the UK’s largest forklift companies control 89% of the market and 20 of them have been identified as being in “severe financial danger because of a failing business strategy”. To that poor business model can be added other unsettling factors like the adverse Euro exchange rate, and the increased cost of borrowing which could raise the cost of fleet renewal in 2009 by 30% compared with 2004 prices. Consequently, Tony Rooney, sales and marketing director for Caterpillar dealer, Briggs Equipment, expects to see a trend towards contract extensions rather than investment in new fleets.
The balance of power is now firmly with buyers and is likely to grow even more as the threat from cheap but good quality imports from China and elsewhere grows. Life may get difficult for truck operators as recession bites but it will be nothing like the discomfiture that faces truck suppliers if they do not improve their poor business models.
Alliance adds territory as Clark dealer
Jessup, MD, United States
Jessup-based Alliance Material Handling Inc added territory as an authorised Clark Material Handling Co dealer in Virginia’s central and south east regions.
“The appointment affirms Clark’s intent to work with existing dealers in expanding their territory when that expansion is mutually beneficial,” says Scott Johnson, director of dealer services with Lexington, Kentucky-based Clark. “As a long-time dealer in Baltimore, Maryland and Winchester, Virginia, Alliance is very well positioned to have an immediate impact in this new territory.”
Alliance, a 100% employee-owned company, has represented Clark for decades in the Maryland and District of Columbia markets, says Thomas Albero, Alliance president and chief executive officer. Alliance merged its Baltimore and Capitol Heights, Maryland branches into the Jessup location in 2004.
In Richmond in central Virginia, Alliance initially leased a 5,000 square foot (450 sqm) building and is shopping for a more permanent location of 15,000 to 20,000 square feet (1,350-1,800 sqm). “We have an eye on a building there,” he notes. In addition to Clark forklifts, the Richmond site stocks Doosan lift trucks and Princeton PiggyBack forklifts.
John Albero, the CEO’s brother, was named manager of the new Richmond branch after working as service manager in the Jessup facility.
Alliance plans temporarily to service the Norfolk area in south east Virginia’s tidewater region from the Richmond location and intends to consider establishing another facility in that market.
Alliance in Jessup and Winchester also represents some Crown, Hamech, Drexel, Sellick and Genie lines. “We have brought in all vendors as we expanded and made them aware we were moving into the territory,” says Thomas Albero.
Alliance employs 170 people and had 2007 sales of USD38 million. The company experienced total sales growth of 24% for the five years ended 31 December.
Alliance transitioned to an employee-owned company over several years. “We bought out 31% of the existing owners’ equity in 2004 and closed out the final round of financing in December 2007,” Albero points out. The capability to offer equity positions “has been helpful to attract top technicians” and stimulated employees to reduce waste and maximise productivity.
Cascade sues Trading Point over trademark
Portland, OR, United States
Forklift attachments manufacturer Cascade Corp of Fairview, Oregon has sued Trading Point LLC for trademark infringement, unfair competition and counterfeit advertising.
A principal at Trading Point office in Webster, Texas declined to comment on the litigation.
Cascade hopes through the lawsuit to identify whether the Trading Point practice is an isolated situation or a wider problem.
In the lawsuit, Cascade makes eight claims for relief including federal, state and common law trademark infringement, federal statutory and common law unfair competition and false advertising and federal statutory counterfeiting of advertising.
Cascade is seeking costs and attorney fees, punitive damages for violations under common law and statutory damages of USD1 million for the counterfeit advertising. Cascade wants a trebling of its actual damages along with Trading Point profits relating to its use of the Cascade trademark.
Cascade filed the suit on July 29 in Portland in the US District Court for Oregon and is seeking a trial by jury.
The lawsuit cites Trading Point advertisements for “sideshift bearings, segments and slides” in the February 2008 and August 2008 issues of the monthly magazine Material Handling Wholesaler of Dubuque, Iowa. The advertising falsely implied that the displayed products “were genuine Cascade parts” to the extent of listing Cascade part identification numbers, according to the court filing.
The suit alleges that “Trading Point’s sale of look-alike sideshift bearings with Cascade’s PINs and spurious markings . . . is counterfeiting under federal law” and the “unauthorised use of the trademark dilutes the distinctive quality of the Cascade trademark.”
Cascade says it has used Cascade as a corporate identity, trade name and trademark continuously since 1948. The US Patent and Trademark Office issued the firm a trademark registration for Cascade in 1958 and again in 1979. Also, Cascade owns registrations for the trademark in about 30 countries.
Operating as Trading Point Products, the defendant sells standard and heavy-duty fork extensions, container ramps, drum handlers, fork spreaders and wide-load handlers and other forklift attachments and accessories. The contact at Trading Point withheld disclosures about employment, operations or business practices.
Cascade designs and manufactures material handling equipment for forklift trucks. Cascade’s attachments and forks help customers lift, sideshift, rotate, tilt and clamp loads of products such as appliances, paper rolls, textiles and lumber.
In addition to Oregon, Cascade has manufacturing sites in four other US states, two Chinese provinces, two Italian provinces, Canada, South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, England and France.
Publicly traded Cascade employs 2,400 persons and reported profit of USD60.1 million on sales of USD558.1 million for the fiscal year ended 31 January.
The case was assigned to Judge Michael W Mosman. Attorneys with the law firm of Chernoff, Vilhauer, McClung & Stenzel LLP in Portland filed the suit on Cascade’s behalf.
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Siegl marks milestone
German aerial lift and telehandler distributor Josef Siegl GmbH celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.
The family-owned company commenced operations in 1963 when it became the dealer for Steinbock forklifts. It later expanded business by stocking the full Steinbock line.
In 1984, Siegl moved from Munich to its current location, Karlsfeld.
Josef Siegl senior’s sons are involved in the business - Josef Siegl junior joined the business in 1985 and Alexander Siegl joined in 1995.
In 1993, the company diversified into the growing aerial lift market and took on the dealership for UpRight in Southern Bavaria.
With constant growth in mind, Siegl moved into its current building in 1998. The building accommodates 1,100 square metres of workshops and storage and 450 square metres of offices and training space.
The company expanded into the telescopic handler market in 2007 with a Dieci dealership. Siegl also has a modest rental fleet to support its sales efforts with 40 work platforms and 100 forklifts.
Briggs expands short-term fleet
Midlands, United Kingdom
Briggs Equipment has increased their short-term forklift rental fleet by 550 new machines at a cost of GBP8 million (USD14.9 million)
The new fleet includes 120 pieces of Cat warehouse equipment, eight 10-16 tonne SMV machines, six 5 tonne Baumann sideloaders, Flexi articulated forklifts, two trucks and rough-terrain machines.
Briggs is the sole UK national distributor of the Cat Forklifts range and also has strong partnerships with Baumann and SMV.
Allan Parsons, Briggs’ short-term rental manager, says the primary reason to increase the fleet is a move towards being a ‘one-stop shop’.
“It is an opportunity to support an under-developed area of the market with rough terrain and sideloaders,” he explains.
He attributes the growth in customer demand for the specialised forklift hire to reluctance to purchase equipment and traditionally poor quality of short-term hire equipment available in the market.
Parsons explains that across the industry, sideloaders and rough-terrain units are often old and overworked machines.
“We are able to offer the latest machines with the greatest efficiency and reliability,” he says.
“Even some of our larger customers in the construction industry prefer to take a shorter-term rental contract out for the larger machines. The shorter-term contracts are a good way of minimising risk if a customer is unsure of the long term business forecast.”
Briggs believes its increased fleet can assist business efficiency and flexibility.
“Reducing the overall fleet age has great benefits in terms of lowering running costs, lower carbon footprint, greater reliability, enhanced choice and eliminates the need for cross hire,” Parsons explains.
With the increased fleet, Briggs believes it will have no problem meeting increased demand for equipment.
“In the distant past, there were occasional issues around peak seasons, but as our experience in the industry has grown, we have been able to match our customers’ expectations,” Parsons says.
The majority of the units will be based at the UK head office at Cannock, West Midlands with some units based at Livingstone near Glasgow and Liverpool Docks.
Parson says the fleets are able to move around with ease because of Briggs’ dedicated transport fleet “so every customer gets the unit they need, not a ‘make do’”.
Briggs’ equipment generally has a 10-year lifespan even though short-term rental equipment is often subjected to abuse and misuse.
“That’s not a question of milking a machine for its last drop of life, but rather using pro-active maintenance: matching the right product to the right application and only sourcing the best equipment,” Parsons says.
Goodyear payout for forklift injury
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Goodyear Dunlop Tyres UK Ltd was fined GBP20, 000 (USD37,976) after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act in a Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court last week.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Goodyear Dunlop for failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of employees after a worker was injured by a falling pallet in June last year.
The operator was inspecting tyre casings when a forklift loaded with a four-high stack of unsecured heavy steel pallets toppled onto him, fracturing one of his ribs.
The court imposed a fine of GBP13,500 (USD25,628) with costs of GBP2,888 (USD5,483). The court also ordered the company to pay compensation of GBP4,000 (USD7,595) to the injured worker.
After the case, the HSE cautioned employers not to neglect their responsibilities to their workers and to ensure adequate protection measures are in place for forklift operations.
HSE inspector Amarjit Kalay says it is important individuals and employers remember their duties under the law to take reasonable care of the health and safety of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work.
“The injuries inflicted could have been significantly worse, or even fatal. Operators of forklifts must ensure that they operate them in accordance with training, and employers must ensure that they are used safely.”
China’s general equipment industry up
A new report shows China’s investment in the general equipment industry increased by 49.4% in 2007.
The Research and Markets’ ‘China General Equipment Industry Report, 2008’ says China’s total investment in this industry reached CNY23.41 billion (USD3.4 billion). This growth is 14.6% higher than the growth rate of investment in China's manufacturing industry in the same period.
The output of forklifts in China during 2007 grew by 41.14%.
The report found the production scale of the general equipment industry has not declined despite international anti-dumping cases and the domestic export rebate policy.
Research and Markets’ report states investment enthusiasm, production and sales ratios have decreased, and stock has gone up. Production scale of the whole industry will maintain a momentum of stable growth and the price index will continue to rise.
The report can be purchased in full from http://www.researchandmarkets.com.
Quinn may avoid jail in trade embargo case
Washington, DC, United States
A former forklift industry executive who was accused of lying to federal investigators in a trade embargo case should avoid jail time when a judge considers his fate on 26 August.
“We have been able to work out a plea agreement since the motion for a new trial” in March, says Aitan Dror Goelman, an attorney representing Robert E Quinn (Forkliftaction.com News #350).
For Quinn, the conclusion of the agreement will “get this chapter behind him,” Goelman notes. “It is a big weight off his shoulders.”
Judge John D. Bates will determine the sentence for Quinn at a hearing in US District Court in Washington.
Under the proposed agreement, the punishment would avoid any jail time, Goelman points out, and could involve something comparable to the one-year probation that was part of the 2006 sentence for Quinn’s boss, David Tatum, at Clark Material Handling Co in Lexington, Kentucky. Also, Tatum was fined USD5,000 and directed to perform 50 hours of community service.
“At one time, the government wanted 39 months in prison” and a fine of USD6,600 as Quinn’s penalty, and “previously, the government wanted a sentence of eight to10 years” for Quinn, Goelman says.
Agents searched the Clark facility in December 2004, confiscated emails and other evidence. That set in motion a highly publicised prosecution for violation of the US trade embargo with Iran. In concluding an eight-day trial in December 2005, a jury convicted Quinn of conspiracy and five counts of violating the embargo.
The jury found co-defendant Michael Holland, also a Clark employee, not guilty on all counts.
Clark shipped forklift parts worth about USD32,000 through a United Arab Emirates trading firm. Those parts were illegally forwarded to a forklift truck manufacturing and distribution firm in Iran.
Ultimately, the government’s case dissolved when the judge determined that prosecutors improperly withheld critical information that unfairly prejudiced Quinn’s legal team in the presentation of his defense. The government withheld an email that indicated Tatum had lied.
Quinn has returned to the business of selling forklifts and parts through Quinn & Associates LLC of Lexington.
Goelman is a partner with the Washington-based law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.
Scheme simplified for industry
London, United Kingdom
Recent changes to the UK’s largest plant competence scheme will make training and testing more practical and flexible for the industry.
The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) changes were made on 1 August after widespread industry review and consultation. The changes are designed to reduce waiting times and to help tailor training to operators' needs.
A CPCS spokesperson says the changes came about after intently listening to various industry voices last year.
“Over the course of six months, we had received feedback from individuals and companies representing over 44,000 employees.
“We attended 24 industry and training road shows and mailed over 11,000 employers. We racked the brains of everyone who has a stake in CPCS,” according to the official.
This consultative process indicated the scheme needed to be more robust and simpler and a number of changes have been implemented.
There were five key changes to the scheme designed to make the CPCS simpler while retaining the scheme’s standards.
A new technical test replaces the intermediate certificate. This new core element will apply across all categories and includes a CPCS practical test of operating ability and skills and a theory test.
The renewal process has been updated to reflect the principle of independent assessment and lifelong learning. A multiple-choice, computer-based test will be taken to support all new blue card renewals from the beginning of 2009.
The CPCS training provider will be replaced with a CPCS test centre as a single point of contact. The test centre will deliver a complete package of services from trained operator card application to technical tests.
The role of the CPCS instructor has also been revised. This role has been divided into two: a CPCS trainer and a CPCS tester.
The final change is the simplification of grant support from CITB-Construction Skills to encourage employers to claim the grant.
The CPCS spokesperson says the changes to the scheme means the industry now has the scheme they want.
“It’s all about making it work for industry and finding the balance between simplicity and robustness. We feel the scheme meets those requirements and feel it will encourage further training and drive up standards across all sectors.”
The changes came into effect at the start of August, but there will be transitional arrangements for old scheme activities through to October 2008 and January 2009.
Recognising training excellence
Fort Dodge, IA, United States
Crane Hot Line is calling for nominations in the Top Trainer Award, described as an opportunity to recognise the best trainers in the industry.
The award winner will be granted a scholarship to be used on train-the-trainer courses or industry conference attendance. The winner can transfer the prize to a student of their choice for similar training.
The winners will be featured in the November 2008 issue.
To be eligible for the award, trainers must have been actively involved in training between 1 August 2007 and 31 July 2008.
Tracy Bennett, award organiser, says trainers will be recognised for having a positive impact on students, the work environment or the industry using innovative training techniques or hands-on instruction.
“They will be recognised for encouraging peer or corporate accountability, and/or through quantitative evidence that the training was successful,” she says.
Their award has two categories: professional trainers whose primary employer is a training company and corporate trainers whose employer is a construction company, crane rental company or industry related.
Bennett says the Top Trainer award is an excellent opportunity for crane rental companies, contractors, manufacturers, and training companies to highlight the safety and training of employees within their organisations.
Full criteria and nomination information can be downloaded from www.cranehotline.com. Click on the Top Trainer logo.
The deadline for nominations has been extended to 15 August.
Lyndey, United Kingdom
Watts’ tyre range expands
A new tyre suitable for articulated forklift applications will be launched onto the market by Watts Tyre Group over the coming months.
The Premia POB, unveiled at CeMAT this year, has been engineered to overcome certain weaknesses POB tyres have on certain applications, such as rubber/steel bond separation under pressure and heavy loads when turning in a tight circle.
James Pick, Watts’ marketing manager, says the main features of the Premia POB are its contoured design and strengthened durability under load pressure.
“It is especially suited for articulated forklift applications whose tyres can experience strong sheer pressure.”
Watts will also release another new product, the Sherpa Industrial Pneumatic, in the final quarter of 2008.
The Sherpa, manufactured in China, is a high quality industrial pneumatic designed for demanding conditions.
New telehandler from Genie
Genie has added to its line-up of telehandlers with the release of the GTH-4017 SX.
The Italian-manufactured GTH-4017 SX is compact in design and more powerful and manoeuvrable, equipping it for congested sites.
The machine’s steering radius is 2.42 metres (7.93 foot) inside and 4.65 metres (15.25 foot) outside and it has a new ‘inching’ function that provides control at the lowest speed.
Genie designed the machine with the rental market in mind.
The 4017 SX is available throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, South America, Australia and parts of Asia.
New rough-terrain crane for Japanese market
Kato has launched a new rough-terrain crane for the Japanese market.
The SR-250R Premium Roughter is a 25-ton capacity, two-axle, high-speed, rough-terrain crane compliant with Japanese road regulations that have just come into force.
The 200-kilowatt (268 horsepower) crane has a three-stage 30.5 metre (100 foot) boom, and can lift 25 ton at a 3.5 metre (11 foot) radius. The boom stows in a horizontal position so that the driver can see underneath it to the roadside.
The new crane has a tilted front boom, like the MR350-SL model, but it can also fit an offset jib that extends to 13 metres (42.6 foot) and can be offset up to 60 degrees off the main boom.
Safety gate for loading and offloading
Waukesha, WI, United States
US manufacturer Wildeck has introduced an easy-to-operate Pivot Safety Gate for increased safety during forklift loading and off-loading.
The gate is designed to protect open areas on mezzanines, elevated platforms, balconies, and rack systems. When one side of the gate is open, the other is closed allowing for quick and safe access by forklift operators and other workers.
The integral kick plate keeps objects from falling off mezzanines and platforms.
The Pivot Safety Gate features a smooth pivoting motion that is easy for operators to use and has a cut-to-fit design (3 foot to 10 foot) for flexible installation.
New boom safety video released
Milnthorpe, United Kingdom
The dangers of not wearing a full body harness are graphically demonstrated in a new safety video released by an industry group in the UK.
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) video features a live demonstration of a crash test dummy fitted to a modified Skyjack boom which shows the effects of driving over a low-lying obstacle.
Tim Whiteman, IPAF’s managing director, says the video is a vivid illustration of why operators should wear harnesses on boom-type platforms.
“The industry must prevent unnecessary deaths where people are catapulted from booms.”
The ‘Only dummies don’t wear harnesses on booms’ video shows a 80 kilogram dummy not wearing a safety harness and the consequences of the catapult and jolting effects as the boom goes over an obstacle.
The two-and–a-half-minute video highlights the need to be trained to operate a boom platform. The operator in the video moves the boom over a series of slight inclines. The effect of the equipment shaking is dramatic.
While the supplier modified the cage for the demonstration, the video illustrates how easily and violently a person would be shaken around and thrown from the platform without a harness.
The video can be downloaded from the Publications/Film section of www.ipaf.com
Movers and Shakers
Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK has appointed Mike Jones as general manager.
Jones takes over from Terry Foreman who is retiring after three years in the role.
Jones is currently regional manager for the northern half of the UK. He was the national sales manager at Hamech, the UK distributor, before he joined Mitsubishi in 2002.
Waverly, IW, United States
Marco Gentilini is taking over from Doug Friesen as vice president and general manager of Terex Cranes North America.
Gentilini is currently general manager of Terex Bendini and continue in this role for Bendini.
Ken Lousberg will take over the operational responsibility for Terex Cranes Wilmington, N.C. plant.
Doug Friesen has been appointed vice president and managing director of Terex Demag in Zweibrücken, Germany. Friesen will take up his new role full time at the start of September and replaces Alexander Knecht.
Friesen has worked at Terex for three years. Prior to that, he worked for JCB and Toyota.
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Tasmania joins storage network
HOBART, Tasmania, Australia
Warehouse operator National Storage has expanded its network to include Tasmania, purchasing three storage centres in Hobart last month.
The AUD17 million deal secured the company 10,700 square metres of space in established sites owned by Scobie Storage Centres and located at suburban Moonah, Mornington and Montrose. The three centres will be rebranded National Storage in the near future.
The acquisitions bring to 60 the number of businesses operated by the company located across all states of Australia and comprising around 290,000 square metres of lettable space.
The company leases the forklifts used in its operations, most of which are Mitsubishi, although the company has three Toyota forklifts in its Hobart centres. The forklifts are used for assisting customers with moving their goods in and out of storage, and moving pallets of stock off trucks and into storage for commercial clients.
Forklifts smooth operations at lubricant plant
YARRAVILLE, Victoria, Australia
ExxonMobil’s lubricant storage and distribution facility in Yarraville is a fully automated, state-of-the-art, random-stacked facility which utilises a fleet of Toyota forklifts in its operations.
The forklifts are used to organise high-rise storage for up to 5,760 pallets and an additional 3,000 pallets in traditional pallet-racked storage.
Warehouse operations are managed by Linfox Logistics, which uses the forklifts to take product into store, pick orders and then load containers and semi-trailers.
“This is a site where material handling is intensive, so it is essential to have the best systems and equipment in place,” says Linfox site manager Rod Newman.
When the leases on the terminal’s fleet of forklifts expired in mid-2007, Linfox undertook an extensive search for the best possible replacements.
“We shortlisted equipment from five different suppliers, then got their forklifts in for demonstrations and test use in the hands of the operators who would ultimately have to work with them,” explains Newman.
He says operators looked at features such as visibility, ease of use of the controls and the ability to work through a full shift without fatigue.
Other aspects which came under scrutiny included occupational health and safety, environmental issues, operating costs and the service support available.
The results favoured equipment provided by Toyota Material Handling, and the Linfox Logistics team at Yarraville now goes about its work using Toyota 8 Series Deluxe forklifts – including a specially equipped flameproof diesel model designed for use where lubricants are being decanted.
Safety is also enhanced by an Operator Presence Sensing system which helps to prevent accidental movement of the forklift and forks when the operator is not seated at the controls. For extra safety, Linfox specified a digital weight scale and a travel and load handling controller for each of its Yarraville forklifts.
Recognition for forklift and truck techies
MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia
Nominations are open for the 2008 Craig Roseneder Award for technical and maintenance excellence in the workshop.
The award recognises the professionalism of the men and women who work behind the scenes in the trucking industry’s workshops.
Chairman of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Trevor Martyn says the award is open to candidates who work for a trucking company, supplier or commercial workshop as a workshop manager or mechanic, or who provide support within the maintenance field for heavy vehicles.
“The judges will be looking for candidates with a minimum of three years of experience and demonstrated high levels of skill and aptitude. They will also be looking for candidates with a demonstrated commitment to their job and the Australian trucking industry,” he adds.
The winner will receive a scholarship to attend the American Trucking Associations’ Maintenance Council meeting in early 2009 and AUD1,000 in spending money.
The winner will also be presented with an individual trophy and a gift from award sponsor Castrol, as well as complimentary registration for the 2009 ATA/ARTSA (Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association)Technical and Maintenance Conference.
Martyn says past recipients of the award have returned from their overseas trip with a breadth of newly gained knowledge and experiences to share within their organisations. “The award is a significant opportunity for learning and development, as well as a chance for companies to gain recognition for a stand-out employee,” he says.
The award will be presented at the Castrol Workshop Awards Dinner, which will be part of the 2008 ATA/ARTSA Technical and Maintenance Conference. The conference will be held from 9 to 11 November at the Moonee Valley Function Centre in Melbourne.
Nomination forms can be downloaded from www.atatruck.net.au/tmc
Nominations close Friday 26 September 2008.
Intermodal terminal will add rail freight capacity
PARKES, New South Wales, Australia
Asciano rail subsidiary Pacific National has bought 327 hectares of freehold land in the Parkes Multi-Modal Transport Hub in New South Wales, for the development of an intermodal freight terminal and container storage and warehousing.
The site has sufficient land to accommodate the rail terminal and co-location of the container storage centre as well as national logistics and distribution facilities. A staged development will allow Pacific National the flexibility to add capacity to its intermodal operations as it is needed in the future.
The proposed terminal will enable double stacking of trains heading west out of Sydney and will add capacity to handle additional rail freight volumes that are expected to grow significantly over the next 20 years.
Asciano managing director and chief executive officer Mark Rowsthorn says the land is located at the junction of the East West interstate rail corridor and proposed Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail corridor.
“The proposed terminal will provide direct mainline access to both corridors and will ensure Pacific National has prime position on the proposed Inland Rail route,” says Rowsthorn.
Bleak profit forecast for December
MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia
Profit expectations for the remainder of the year are bleak with 50% of executives anticipating a decline in profits in the December quarter, according to the latest survey from Dun & Bradstreet.
D&B CEO Christine Christian says business confidence has fallen dramatically as the economy has continued to slow.
"The expectations of business executives have continued to fall, with sales and profits expectations particularly hard hit," says Christian.
"With the economy expected to slow further at least in the short term, businesses need to be particularly diligent about managing their operations to ensure they remain financially stable throughout the challenging conditions."
Executive concerns regarding the credit market have increased. Seven in 10 (72%) firms indicated that a tightening credit market will have a negative impact on operations - 11% anticipate a very negative impact.
Meanwhile, fuel prices continue to have a detrimental impact on operations with nine in 10 executives indicating that fuel costs are hurting their business - a 28% increase since March. Some 47% of executives rate the cost of fuel as the most important influence on operations in the quarter ahead - the highest level of concern in 16 months.
Despite being overtaken by fuel prices, interest rates remain a significant concern. One third of executives indicate that interest rates are their primary concern in the quarter ahead.
Just 17% of firms rate wages growth as their primary concern in the next quarter - a decline of eight points since May.
Container trade growth continues through Sydney
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Ports has recorded its seventh consecutive year of growth in container trade, which increased by 9.8% compared to the last financial year to reach over 1.778 million TEUs.
Goods imported in containers increased by 11% over last year and exports grew by 4.2%.
Commodities such as manufactured products, machinery and transport equipment and chemicals contributed to the increase in imports with the main countries of origin being China, United States and New Zealand.
Exports to countries such as China, New Zealand and Indonesia of commodities like chemicals, machinery and transport equipment have maintained export growth despite a decline in agricultural products such as cotton.
Total trade through Sydney’s Ports was 29.2 million mass tonnes, 5% higher than last year.
According to Minister for Ports and Waterways Joe Tripodi, while trade in containerised goods is increasing, so is that of bulk liquids and gases, which increased by 18.1% over last year.
“The future of trade through Sydney’s Ports is in containerised trade and bulk liquids, which is why we have started construction of a five-berth expansion of Port Botany and have approved plans for a new bulk liquids berth to cater for this growth,” he says.
Economy slowing but inflation still high
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
In a statement on monetary policy released this week, the Reserve Bank notes “a significant moderation in domestic demand”.
In addition to the effects of tighter financial conditions, other factors, including a slowing in global growth, declining asset markets and higher fuel costs, are acting to restrain domestic spending and activity. At the same time, high global commodity prices are adding to Australia’s terms of trade, and this is providing a significant countervailing influence. Prospects for growth of the Australian economy and for inflation will continue to depend on the net effects flowing from these opposing forces.
While inflation is likely to remain high in the short term, the board judged at its August meeting that demand was slowing to an extent that could be expected to bring about a significant reduction in inflation over time. On this basis, the board decided that the existing monetary policy setting was appropriate for the time being. On the assumption that the subdued demand conditions are likely to continue, scope to move to a less restrictive monetary policy stance in the period ahead is increasing.
The board will continue to monitor developments and make adjustments as required in order to promote sustainable growth consistent with the medium-term inflation target of 2–3%.
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