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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #374 - 21 August 2008 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
Snorkel lays off up to 125 in Kansas
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Equipment makers face ongoing market pressures
Financial reports from Terex Corp, Oshkosh Corp and Nacco Industries Inc indicate a range of ongoing profit and sales pressures impacting makers of material handling equipment.
Terex says it is cutting aerial work platform (AWP) production to get its inventories in better alignment with market demand. The cuts in manufacturing capacity and head count reflect Terex’s anticipation of slower sales of AWPs during the second half of calendar 2008. Operating margins for the AWP segment of Terex of Westport, Connecticut declined to 18.6%, or USD125.3 million, for the second quarter ended on June 30 in comparison with 23.0%, or USD147.0 million, in the comparable 2007 quarter. The segment’s net sales increased 5.1% to USD672.7 million, although the change was approximately 1% if foreign currency exchange rate changes are excluded.
For its JLG business, Oshkosh reported softness in the United States market and stronger demand in Europe for the third quarter ended June 30.
The weak US construction market reduced demand for telehandlers, but there was strong demand in Europe for AWPs.
“Although the access equipment market in certain countries of Western Europe started to experience signs of weakness in the third quarter of fiscal 2008, sales in Europe overall increased nearly 30% versus the comparable prior year quarter,” the Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based firm, said.
Oshkosh is launching a redesigned telehandler model in Europe and, in the short term, recorded lower orders for the current model.
Oshkosh acquired JLG Industries Inc of McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania in December 2006 for USD3.2 billion.
Profit for Nacco Material Handling Group Inc’s (NMHG) wholesale business was USD3.2 million for the second quarter ended June 30, less than a third of the comparable 2007’s USD10.4 million.
Unfavourable foreign currency movements, increased material and delivery costs, higher warranty costs and more sales, general and administrative expenses were contributors to the lower profit. On the positive side, NMHG increased sales of higher-priced units and parts and logged some success in passing price increases onto customers.
NMHG is a principal business of Nacco Industries Inc of Mayfield Heights, Ohio.
In a separate vein, Omni Energy Services Corp reported that operational integration of Industrial Lift Truck and Equipment Co Inc (ILT) into Omni’s land division partially offset a reduction in profits from the firm’s environmental services segment for the second quarter ended June 30.
Oil and gas industry supplier Omni of Carencro, Louisiana acquired ILT on April 24 for USD16.25 million in cash and USD4.0 million in promissory notes.
ILT provides more than 300 pieces of specialised rental equipment and offers related service through sites in Lafayette, Louisiana and Lincoln, Texas. Through the integration, ILT is gaining growth opportunities without additional infrastructure costs.
Major Forklift Event ... 14th Annual 'U.S. Open' Forklift Safety Rodeo & Expo - 7th and 8th November 2008
There is still time to participate as an exhibitor, sponsor or competitor.
Cash awards are offered for the top individual wranglers in both the Masters and Championship Divisions in the 2 day Rodeo at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Ohio. Sponsored by Springfield/Clark County Safety Council (SCCSC), KMH Systems, Inc.(Yale Lift Truck Dealer), Higgins Group, Inc. (Safety and Training specialists), Sentry Protection Products ( Lakewood, OH), Cascade Corporation, Orbis Corporation, EnerSys, Inc., Benchmark Industrial Supply and Forkliftaction.com.
Contact details for the organizers at Higgins Group may be found **** HERE ****
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Financial results reflect increase in crane rentals
Tat Hong looking up
Tat Hong has reported a 69% increase in net profit for the first quarter due to an increase in crane rentals.
The company reported revenues for the first quarter up 39% to SGD191.3 million (USD135 million), and net profit margins up 22% to 15.3%.
Tat Hong’s new tower crane division contributed SGD2 million (USD1.4 million), or 2.8% of overall gross profits.
The company attributes crane rentals as the most profitable part of the business, delivering gross profits of SGD28 million (USD19.7 million) or 39.7% of the overall figure. Equipment sales contributed SGD18.6 million (USD13.1 million), general equipment rental added gross profits of SGD14m (USD9.8 million) and parts and services brought in SGD7.9m (USD5.57 million).
Boom's profits down
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Boom Logistics has reported net profits after tax falling 46%, despite revenues rising 17%.
New profits after tax fell from AUD34.4 million (USD29.8 million) to AUD18.6m (USD16.1 million) even though revenues for 2008 were AUD410.3 million (USD356.1 million), from restated revenues of AUD350 million (USD303.8 million) in 2007.
The company had said its poor performance was due to bad weather, but latest reports suggest asset write-downs were to blame. Boom concedes that issues related to its operations, staffing and rapid, acquisitions-based, growth had cost around AUD16 million (USD13.8 million).
Essex results up
Buffalo Grove, Il, USA
Essex Crane Rental Corp has announced second quarter revenues driven up 28.7% after showing a 34.6% increase in rental revenues.
Revenues for the quarter reached USD20.2 million, up from USD15.7 million in 2007. Crane rental revenues increased to USD15.8 million from USD11.7 million in the second quarter of 2007.
The company is confident it has sufficient bookings in hand to support its full year 2008 rental revenue projections. Essex believes, based on new contracted related activity, revenue will exceed its previously projected 2008 total EBITDA of USD40.2 million.
Hydrogen Road Tour shows fuel cell forklifts
GenDrive fuel cell units from Plug Power Inc were displayed on forklifts during two stops on a 13-day Hydrogen Road Tour across the United States.
The Aiken, South Carolina plant of Bridgestone-Firestone North American Tire LLC and the Smyrna, Tennessee facility of Nissan North America Inc served as refueling locations for nine cars on the tour and showed fuel cell-equipped forklifts to visitors.
During the tour stop in Aiken, a GenDrive system was displayed on a class I sit-down counterbalance forklift.
A showing of similar fuel cell technology on a forklift took place during the stop at the Nissan test track in Smyrna.
A fuel cell can directly replace, and maintain a charge longer than, a battery. Changing and refuelling take less time, and a fuel cell’s only emission is water vapour.
Plug Power of Latham, New York, has received orders for GenDrive units from Bridgestone-Firestone on five occasions. The tyre firm is converting 22 forklifts to GenDrive fuel cells this year as replacements for lead-acid batteries and expects to convert the remainder of the fleet in Aiken as equipment is retired. The plant makes tyres for passenger vehicles and light trucks.
Automotive manufacturer Nissan North America conducted plant trials with fuel-cell-powered forklifts last year.
Nissan Forklift Corporation North America manufactures forklifts that can use fuel cells, typically for warehouse applications. A Nissan unit conducts fuel cell research at a US facility in Sacramento, California, and other work occurs under the auspices of Nissan’s industrial machinery division and the Nissan research laboratory, both based in Japan.
Nine automotive manufacturers, the US departments of energy and transportation, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association sponsored the tour to demonstrate how hydrogen vehicle and fuelling technologies are nearing commercialisation.
South American expansion for Kalmar
Kalmar Industries is expanding its interest in South America with acquisition of Equipos y Servicios para Terminales y Puertos SRL (ESTP).
ESTP has been Kalmar’s dealer representative in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay since 2001. It provides machine commissioning, technical and spare parts support, and equipment repairs and refurbishment in South America.
Kalmar, the container and heavy-duty materials handling equipment arm of Cargotec Corporation, believes this purchase will strengthen its distribution operations in South America.
ESTP’s founder and managing director Marcelo Masso, will stay on with the company.
Jim Anastasio, Kalmar Region Americas’ president, says Massa will also be on the Kalmar Americas sales and service executive board, reporting directly to the president for Kalmar Region Americas.
“Having a dynamic entrepreneur such as Marcelo Massa leading Kalmar’s efforts, the region will no doubt open up more opportunities,” he says.
“ESTP has proven to be a customer-focused organisation with competent personnel. We hope to expand on their strengths to increase our presence in the region.
“Due to the positive economic development in Argentina, we anticipate that the acquisition will advance Kalmar’s business in the region to include contract maintenance agreements, crane refurbishment projects and other tailored solutions.”
Anastasio says Kalmar has been impressed with ESTP’s management team and customer relations.
“We decided that we would be better situated if ESTP was a part of our organisation, to take the responsibility to grow our business in the region."
Because of the acquisition, ESTP’s role in the region will change. Anastasio says ESTP will now be responsible for Kalmar’s sales and service in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
Ravas opens new office in UK
Berkshire, United Kingdom
Mobile scales producer Ravas recently opened an office in the UK to capitalise on the growth in the European market for its products.
Nicola Whittle, Ravas UK’s area manager, says Ravas Europe BV has seen substantial growth in sales of mobile weighing systems over the whole of Europe.
“In order to support this growth, it was decided to set up our own Ravas subsidiary in the UK. Alongside private label sales, the UK market has been served through a couple of dealers and it became necessary and logical for Ravas to have a local presence,” she says.
The Ravas mobile weighing systems are generally sold as a private label product through major materials handling suppliers like Jungheinrich, Linde, Toyota, Crown and Still.
Whittle says Ravas has had a couple of offices in Germany for a long time, as well as offices in Benelux and France.
“More recently, an office in Italy has been opened. After the success of Italy in 2007, it was decided that in 2008 Ravas would start up offices in the USA and in the UK to fulfil the demand of its customers,” she says.
Ravas mobile scales are installed on forklifts, warehouse trucks and pallet trucks and display the weight of every pallet or container lifted.
Ravas has existing production facilities in the Netherlands and in China.
Whittle says production will continue to be based in these countries for the European market and an assembly line will be set up in the USA to accommodate the markets in North and South America.
Ravas hopes its move to the UK will create a better awareness in the market that mobile weighing improves efficiency in all types of logistic operations.
The company has a substantial share of the European market for mobile weighing, estimated at 45%.
In 2007, Ravas sold a total of 14,500 mobile weighing systems worldwide with a forecast growth rate of 15% per annum, Whittle adds.
Snorkel lays off up to 125 in Kansas
Elkwood, KS, United States
Aerial work platform manufacturer Snorkel International Inc plans to cut up to 125 positions from its workforce in Kansas by the end of September. At least 325 jobs will remain.
In adjacent sites, Snorkel manufactures boom lifts in Elwood, Kansas, and scissor lifts in Wathena, Kansas.
The proposed lay-off reflects the widespread slowing of construction projects and the tendency for contractors to reduce their need for equipment.
“Snorkel employed around 350 people when Tanfield [Group plc] purchased the company in 2007, so we have created 100 jobs thanks to our investment in the business,” says Dan Jenkins, media relations manager with the parent firm.
Snorkel added eight UpRight Powered Access models to its US-built range, expanded factory output and created the additional jobs. The additional models include the compact battery-powered TM12 mast lift that can move through standard doorways, the 32-inch- (80cm) wide MB2030J lift and the manoeuvrable MB2639J mast boom lift.
“Thanks to our investment, global distribution network and targeted introduction of products for the materials handling sector, Snorkel now has a better product range, much broader sales channels and is achieving far greater exports than it has for five years,” Jenkins tells Forkliftaction.com News.
On June 27, hourly Snorkel employees voted to form a union. No contract has been negotiated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The economy―and not the vote―drove the decision to lay off workers, according to Jenkins and a union agent.
Snorkel ownership changed on 30 July 2007.
England’s Tanfield acquired Snorkel Holdings LLC and its subsidiary companies, Snorkel International Inc in the US, Snorkel Elevating Work Platforms Pty Ltd in Australia and Snorkel Elevating Work Platforms Ltd in New Zealand, for GBP48.1 million (USD97.4 million) in cash and stock.
Tanfield’s powered access division includes the Snorkel operations, SEV Group Ltd forklifts, UpRight scissor lifts, self-propelled booms and mast lifts, Aerial Access platforms, Jumbotug tractor units and Norquip airport lift vehicles.
Snorkel is Tanfield’s largest US operation and manufactures most of the firm’s aerial lift products for North America and Latin America.
Recently, a Tanfield plant in the United Kingdom completed a lay-off of 85 positions out of a workforce of about 450. The UK plant serves Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East, and a New Zealand factory serves Australasia and parts of the Asia Pacific region
Terex buys Fantuzzi
Westport, CT, United States
Terex Corporation has reached a definitive agreement to acquire the port equipment businesses of Fantuzzi Industries S.a.r.l. for a total consideration of approximately EUR215 million (USD318 million). The transaction is subject to the usual closing conditions, including regulatory approval, and is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2008.
“This acquisition provides us with an important growth opportunity in the intermodal transportation area of infrastructure,” says Ronald M. DeFeo, Terex chairman and chief executive officer. “The acquisition is an excellent fit with our strategy of expanding our market presence in related product areas and is a natural extension of our Cranes business. We expect this acquisition to be accretive to Terex earnings per share by the end of 2009.”
The existing Terex reach stacker product line will be joined by the Fantuzzi product range that includes Noell-branded straddle carriers; Fantuzzi- and Noell-branded rail and rubber-tyred gantry cranes; mobile harbour cranes; ship-to-shore cranes; and reach stackers and forklifts designed to improve port productivity and throughput.
“We are truly excited to welcome these businesses and their team members, distributors and customers to the Terex Cranes family,” says Terex president Rick Nichols. “This acquisition represents an exciting opportunity for both companies, and together we will ensure that our customers in the port equipment and lifting segments will be the ultimate beneficiaries of our expanded product and service offerings.”
Forkliftaction News will analyse the deal in the next newsletter.
3D software aids warehouse planning
Hampshire, United Kingdom
A new generation of 3D simulation software has been launched to help companies with warehouse planning and decision-making.
Hyster has developed Incontrol Simulation Software BV, a realistic virtual tool that allows companies to optimise operations by being able to see how a warehouse would theoretically operate. The technology can be used for a new developments or changes to an existing operation.
Robert O’Donoghue, general manager for Hyster’s Warehouse Products, says that while simulation is not an exact science, it can provide a realistic indication of the viability of various fleet options.
“Warehouse managers will be able to consider different fleet mix scenarios and develop a good idea of potential pallet throughputs and related costs.”
O’Donoghue says the need for realism has been a key consideration in the development of the warehouse simulator.
“Each simulation takes into account significant details of the warehouse operation: battery discharge, re-charging, changing times and rates, dwell and radio data terminal access times, operator shift patterns, break times, and ability/permission to drive certain truck types, creep speed when forks are lifted and the degree of truck slow-down when cornering or when nearing another truck.
“The programme can also simulate a variety of order-picking methods and will show in clear graphical form where and when congestion occurs."
Customers will work with a Hyster warehouse expert to input all the relevant data for their operation. The information collected and analysed helps identify the optimum fleet mix to maximise productivity and minimise the total cost of the warehouse operation.
Customers are able to view 2D and 3D representations of their operations and see a series of graphs illustrating the utilisation and throughput of each operational area throughout the day.
“The simulator allows the warehouse owner to know if he really has the right mix of trucks. The Hyster warehouse simulator can vividly demonstrate how the selection of a slightly different mix of trucks can reduce cost and improve overall efficiency,” O’Donoghue says.
Obituary: Geoffrey Ballard
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Fuel cell pioneer Geoffrey Ballard has passed away at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, Canada.
Ballard was the founder of Ballard Power Systems, which he hoped would “herald the birth of the hydrogen economy”.
Ballard Power Systems has been instrumental in the development of hydrogen fuel cell systems for cars and buses, which are meant to be a quiet, energy-efficient alternative to fossil fuel-powered engines.
According to the Washington Post, Geoffrey Ballard risked bankruptcy and his professional reputation to get the internal combustion engine off the streets and its smog out of the skies.
“He knew alternative energy could work - he had a doctorate in geophysics and had been the head of a federal energy conservation office in the early 1970s. Without outside backers, he cashed in his pension and, for $2,000, bought a run-down Arizona motel to use as a laboratory. He first tried to make a high-energy lithium battery, a research project that put him in bankruptcy,” according to an obituary in the Post.
The Burnaby-based company that Ballard founded has been leading the way in the development of hydrogen fuel cell systems since 1983.
In 1993, the world's first hydrogen fuel cell-powered, zero-emission transit bus was introduced at Science World in Vancouver, thanks to Ballard.
While the company continues to make the news with achievements frequently reported by Forkliftaction.com News, poor health forced Ballard to step aside as chairman of Ballard Power Systems in 1998.
Two years later, he formed General Hydrogen Corporation to provide energy-delivery technologies, systems and infrastructures for fuel-cell vehicles and devices.
He has numerous publications and patents to his credit, had been granted honorary degrees from six Canadian universities and was a Member of the Order of Canada.
Scientific American magazine named Ballard Business Leader of the Year in 2002. In 1999, Time magazine hailed Ballard as a "Hero for the Planet".
Despite all the accolades and a reputation as a great intellect, Ballard was a humble man and “very down to earth”, according to those who knew him best.
Forklift driver rescued off Mt Cook
Mt Cook, New Zealand
A 37-year-old Australian forklift driver was rescued after two days stranded on New Zealand’s Mt Cook last week.
Expedition leader Terry Cole from Sydney and five other climbers spent two terrifying nights stranded in chest-deep snow and blizzard conditions as deadly avalanches threatened.
Cole, his partner Jenni Landon, Stephen Dolphin, Melissa Clerke, David Freeland and Gerald Osman were on the sixth day of a seven-day trek.
Cole works for Sydney-based Phoenix Transport, where he has spend the last four years as a forklift driver at the Sydney warehouse. “We do many containers for Sony, Target and TNT,” he tells Forkliftaction.com News.
The group’s ordeal began when they set out from Mount Cook Village for Mueller Hut, halfway up Mt Cook. Their plan was to move on to the Barron Saddle when the weather deteriorated unexpectedly and they turned back towards the hut.
They were only 1,470 feet (448 metres) from it when a blizzard stranded them in the open on the Metelille Glacier where avalanches thundered past 160 feet (48 metres) side of their tents.
Cole said the climbers were equipped for bad weather and had an extra day's rations with them.
“Being the leader of the trip, I was prepared in case something like that happened,” he says.
“All of your training and survival skills are used but you never do anticipate to be put in that position.
“You start thinking about your life and what you could have done, and things you could have changed,” he says.
“I am so grateful to all the people who thought about us and who sent their support.”
The group was partly protected by an overhang, however their two tents were repeatedly filled with snow.
Coles says they were all so glad to get out of there alive.
Cole and Dolphin were preparing for a trek on foot to try to reach a hut when they were finally rescued.
"Two of us were going to try and walk out as a last resort but then the rescuers saw us. It was a wonderful feeling,” he says. “When we saw the helicopter, we all jumped up and yelled ‘yippee’!”
The group was rescued by a search and rescue helicopter after being alerted by the climbers’ emergency beacon, but the horrendous conditions prevented a rescue until the next day.
Cole says he will still be adventurous but does not plan on another climb like his recent one.
“I am in the midst of planning a trip, although it will not be as intense or dangerous. You realise how much you mean to other people. I do not want to put my family through something like that again,” he says.
However, Cole believes mountaineering is in his blood: “You feel free and it’s amazing on the top of a mountain.”
Movers and Shakers
Northumberland, United Kingdom
Continental Industrial Tyres has appointed John McWilliam as sales manager for Scotland and north east England.
McWilliam has over 10 years of experience in the commercial tyre industry and he has worked in both business development and sales.
Sir Richard Mottram has been appointed non–executive chairman of Amey.
Sir Richard is one of the UK's most senior officials within government and his career spans 39 years. He has had experience across key sectors including transport, the environment and public services.
In his new role, he will be involved in developing the business's central and local government agenda and guiding Amey's future strategic development.
Portland, Ore, USA
Cascade Corporation has announced a number of new executive appointments.
Richard S. Anderson was appointed chief operating officer. Anderson has been with Cascade since 1972 and has held several executive level positions, as vice president – Material Handling Product Group in 1996, senior vice president – International in 1999 and senior vice president and chief financial officer in 2001.
Joseph G. Pointer was appointed chief financial officer, succeeding Anderson. Pointer joined Cascade in 2000 as vice president – Finance. Before joining Cascade, Pointer was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Portland, Oregon.
Peter D. Drake was appointed vice president – Americas. Drake joined Cascade in 1991 and he has held a number of management positions in both the Portland and Corporate manufacturing operations.
Frank R. Altenhofen was appointed vice president - Asia Pacific. Altenhofen started at Cascade in 1983 and he has held numerous manufacturing, marketing, and management positions. In 2007, he served as the company’s vice president – Americas and was general manager of Cascade’s China operations in the mid 1990s.
Davide Roncari was appointed vice president - Europe. Roncari has held a number of management positions in Cascade’s European operations. Prior to this promotion, he was the director of engineering - Europe and director of production for the Verona manufacturing operations.
Changes reduce form filling
London, United Kingdom
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed details of changes to health and safety regulations for the next eight months.
Three amendments will be made to existing legislation from April 2009 and are aimed at reducing form filling and administrative burdens on businesses.
The HSE says the Health and Safety Information (Amendment) Regulations will allow it to approve and publish new posters and leaflets that do not require the addition of enforcing authority and Employment Medical Advisory Service contact information.
The changes to the Factories Act 1961 and Offices, Shops and Railways Premises Act 1963 (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations will cut the amount of bureaucracy currently imposed on firms.
Currently, employers are required to fill out a form to notify the HSE or their local authority of any factory, office or shop premises, and certain railway premises, where employees work. In addition, factory employers are required to keep a set of records and forms called the "general register".
“We are consulting on these proposed regulations. They would remove several legislative form filling requirements that currently apply to most businesses operating from a factory, office or shop (and certain railway premises) in Great Britain,” the HSE says.
“The regulations would introduce no new requirements. We are considering two areas: premises notification and the general register.
“We think these requirements are no longer needed and could be removed without detriment to current health and safety protection.”
Rachael Haynes, business development manager for Norwich Union Risk Services (NURS), a health and safety consultancy and training company, says the current changes reflect a move away from major changes.
"In recent years we've seen a preference from regulators for minor amendments to health and safety rules, rather than the introduction of major new pieces of legislation.
"This latest statement from the HSE continues that trend, with further emphasis on making health and safety regulations easier to comply with."
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says it is committed to helping business and other stakeholders adapt to changes in occupational health and safety law and practice. To make it easier on businesses to implement changes, the HSE only implement changes to regulations and legislation twice a year, on 6 April (the start of the tax year) and 1 October.
“By harmonising commencement dates, we hope that those affected - businesses, employee representatives and individuals - will be more aware of forthcoming changes and better able to plan for and implement new measures effectively,” the HSE says.
Jungheinrich plans factory expansion
Moosburg, Bavaria, Germany
Jungheinrich has announced plans to open a new factory in Moosburg, Bavaria with construction to start later this year.
The new plant, near the company's existing production facility, will be dedicated to manufacturing warehouse trucks and systems equipment.
The plant is expected to be complete and operational by the end of 2009.
The company is opening its facility in Landsberg, Saxony mid 2009 where battery-powered pallet trucks and stackers for the European market will be produced. (Forklift Action news #340)
The construction of the two new plants represents a EUR70 million (USD103 million) investment by Jungheinrich.
Craig Johnson, marketing manager of Jungheinrich (UK) Ltd, says the company expects the market to continue growing in the years to come.
“We are adapting our production to address this situation in good time."
In 2007, Jungheinrich completed upgrades of its factories at Norderstedt and Moosburg (Forklift Action news #331).
Intruder tips over forklift in Idaho arena
Boise, ID, United States
An intruder entered Block 22 LLC’s Qwest Arena, tipped over a forklift after driving it in circles and caused extensive damage to the floor of the venue in Boise, Idaho.
A security guard at the nearby Grove Hotel saw a woman leaving the arena at about 3 a.m. on 17 August, say police. She was bleeding from the right shoulder and is considered a person of interest in the case.
There was a “trail of blood leading away” from the site, says Bonnie Way Snider, Qwest Arena communications director. “We think alcohol was involved because there was a beer can at the scene of the crime.” No estimates were available on damages to the forklift or the floor.
Police may file charges of unlawful entry and malicious injury to property if an apprehension occurs.
Managers were preparing the arena for boxing matches this week as part of the 2008 Western States Police and Fire Games taking place 16-23 August in Boise.
The arena seats 5,000 and is the home of the Idaho Steelheads class AA hockey team, the Boise Burn arena football team and the Idaho Stampede developmental-league basketball team.
Patented design crane launch at Breda
Abnormal Load Engineering (ALE) will launch its new state-of-the-art multi-purpose lifting machine on 11 September at Breda, Netherlands.
The 4,300 ton capacity SK 90 crane is an ALE-patented design with the advantages of a long outreach and, like other heavy cranes, it slews by turning around a large modular ring that is set up outside its lower structure. However, unlike its rivals, it can operate with only a section of a complete ring assembled.
Miriam Schalken, spokesperson for ALE, says the company gave the concept a lot of thought over the years and wanted to get away from the ring idea.
“The system we have designed is referred to as the topping lift. It is four large hydraulic rams pulling on a plate link system and each stoke of the jack is 800 mm.
“We did not feel the strand jack arrangement is a good solution as the strand grippers collets often get clogged as the strand loses tension.
The crane has a maximum boom length of 148 metres (486 feet) for the main boom and 48 metres (157 feet) backmast. It lifts 600 tons with a winch with 10 parts of line.
The SK 90 raises a maximum load with 4,000 tons of counterweight and its maximum load-moment is 96,000 tm.
Schalken says the company decided to build this crane to enhance its position as a heavy-lift contractor in the petro-chemical construction industry, especially in the Middle East.
“The SK 90 has changed a lot of the thinking concerning construction techniques of new plants. There are many other applications where the capacity of the crane allows engineers to build more efficient process plant.”
ALE has several versions of the crane that will take around 21 days to assemble and 18 days to disassemble.
The prototype is in the process of being assembled and testing will begin at the end of the month.
Melbourne ranks in top 50 ports
MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia
The Port of Melbourne has been ranked among the world’s leading container ports, reaching top 50 status in international rankings released by Container Management magazine.
The accolade comes after Melbourne became the first port in Australia to reach the two million container milestone in 2007.
“The top 50 ranking shows Melbourne is a world-class operation - ahead of Sydney (ranked 70) and Brisbane (ranked 100),” says Victoria premier John Brumby.
“Excluding Sydney, the Port of Melbourne handles the same amount of containers as the combined total of all the other ports in Australia including Brisbane, Fremantle and Adelaide.
“Overall, the port handles around 36% of the nation’s container trade – which amounts to around 6,500 containers on average each day.”
He adds that the Port of Melbourne is the hub for Victoria’s freight and logistics industry which generates employment for tens of thousands of Victorians and handles an average of AUD90 million in exports every day.
For the 2007 calendar year, container throughput grew to 2.188 million containers. As a result, Melbourne’s ranking increased from 54 to 50 in the 2007 ranking.
In the financial year to June 2008, total container throughput grew 7.8% to 2.256 million containers, representing the port’s seventeenth consecutive year of positive container growth.
New forklift fleet for irrigation supplier
KILKENNY, South Australia, Australia
Australia’s largest single supplier of irrigation, garden and turf care products, Toro Australia, has selected Toyota Material Handling (TMH) to provide its counterbalance forklift and reach truck requirements.
The specific nature of Toro’s business makes driver acceptability and equipment durability of the forklifts vital.
According to the company’s national distribution manager, Hank Dirksen, it’s important to have material handling equipment to which casual staff can adapt quickly.
The company has a core workforce which works the whole year round, but in the summer months, it is almost doubled with casual staff to deal with the seasonal nature of the business.
“Because of Toyota’s place in the market, we find that a lot of the casuals are familiar with Toyota equipment from other jobs where they have worked.
“After our comprehensive review process, the verdict was that Toyota Material Handling provided the best options – including for reach trucks which we hadn’t used before.”
The new forklift fleet consists of two 6FBRE16 reach trucks, 10 LPG powered 2.5 litre 8-Series forklifts and seven battery electric 1.8 tonne three-wheel forklifts.
Aside from its role servicing and maintaining the equipment under five-year operating lease arrangements, TMH is working closely with Toro to monitor forklift usage and to suggest periodic role changes to even out machine usage.
Toyota provides equipment to simplify battery charging and swaps for the company’s battery electric forklifts which are now working up to 16 hours a day.
While the battery electric forklifts are Toro’s workhorse units inside its warehouses, the company also selected the advanced technology option for its Toyota 8 Series 2.5 tonne capacity internal combustion forklifts to ensure low exhaust gas emissions.
This provided the company with a 15% reduction in fuel consumption over the previous 7 Series Toyota internal combustion forklifts’ performance.
Great results for NZ freight company
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Freightways Limited has reported record earnings for the year ended 30 June 2008.
Managing director Dean Bracewell says the successful execution of Freightways’ growth strategy in the Australian market, a sound result from its core express package division in a challenging local market, and outstanding performance from the information management division all combined to help the company continue its run of consecutive record annual results since listing on the NZX in September 2003.
Consolidated operating revenue for the year (to 30 June) of NZD324 million - topping NZD300 million for the first time - was 14% up on the previous year, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and goodwill amortisation (EBITDA) of NZD68.5 million, 9% ahead of the previous year. Earnings before interest, tax and goodwill amortisation (EBITA) of NZD60.5 million for the year were up 7% on the previous year.
Cash generated from operations for the year before interest and tax was $67.5 million, 8% higher than the previous year, while consolidated net profit after tax (NPAT) of $32.3 million was 5% higher than the previous year.
Small business pessimistic
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Small Business Survey shows that business conditions have continued to deteriorate over the June 2008 quarter, falling to the lowest level recorded since the survey began in December 1996.
The survey assessed business conditions and confidence among 2,121 businesses around Australia over the April, May and June period.
The survey also found that:
• Business expects a further decline in Australia’s rate of economic growth over the next 12 months. This index is also at its lowest level since December 1996 and more than 15 points below its five-year average.
• The growth of sales revenue has declined further and fell into negative territory over the quarter for the first time in five years. Expectations also moderated from previous figures but remained positive.
• Selling prices growth continued to moderate over the quarter.
• Profit growth continued its significant decline below the key 50.0 level to 38.8 – nine points below the five-year average and the lowest level since this survey began. Expectations for the September quarter were also negative, indicating small business is not confident of a quick recovery.
• Growth of investment in plant and equipment has slowed from the previous high levels while the growth rate for investment in buildings and structures remained negative.
Greg Evans, director of industry policy and economics at the ACCI, is calling on the Reserve Bank to cut official interest rates to arrest this slide in small business activity.
Inaugural show to promote trade for SMEs
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
A new show focussing on small to medium businesses looking to increase trade will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre from 18-19 September.
The Import Export Show will feature business information and seminars, including opportunities to hear from experts on how to develop and maintain new markets.
Show organisers, UK-based AZ Worldwide and Trade Australia, expect up to 3,000 SME decision-makers to attend the trade show over the two days.
The show is being held in association with Austrade and the NSW Department of State and Regional Development, which are actively supporting it as part of Small Business September 2008.
Australia's two leading freight associations - the Australian Federation of International Forwarders (AFIF) and the Customs Brokers Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA) - have also supported the event.
More information can be found at www.importexportshow.com.au
Meanwhile, Australia’s definitive freight transport event, AusIntermodal 2008, will be held on 3-4 September 2008 at Hilton on the Park in Melbourne.
The summit will bring together government officials, the CEOs of Australia’s major ports, freight operators, shipping lines, rail companies, stevedores, and infrastructure companies to discuss the future of Australian freight.
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