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|The first major event of the year, ProMat 2009, is wrapping up today, with more than 800 of the leading materials handling and logistics providers showing off their wares and more than 100 educational seminars drawing in the crowds. As the dust settles, it will be interesting to gauge the sentiment of the show, given the tough market conditions around the globe. We’ll have all the ProMat news and analysis next week, thanks to the presence of our North American bureau chief Roger Renstrom and our US sales manager, Rodger Lamb; so, as they say, watch this space …|
|Big things to come for AGVs |
|Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) is not a new technology; it has been around since the ‘50s, helping companies save time, money and labour. Annette Densham reports it is only now in the 21st century that this materials handling option is evolving and coming into its own. Read more|
|Fantuzzi deal cancelled |
Westport, CT, United States
|Terex has announced it will not proceed with its planned purchase of Italian port equipment manufacturer Fantuzzi Industries.|
Terex told the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) it had terminated its agreement with Fantuzzi because of delays in getting final approval and materially adverse changes.
Forkliftaction.com News reported in November Terex’s concerns about a number of issues relating to the deal. Terex had asked Fantuzzi for more information (Forkliftaction.com News #388).
In a statement to the SEC, Terex says attempts to find a resolution through discussions and negotiations were not successful. “Fantuzzi failed to provide Terex with any of the additional information requested and no resolution was reached by the parties.
“On 15 December 2008, Terex advised Fantuzzi that it was terminating the Fantuzzi agreements effective immediately due to failure to obtain all necessary competition authority approvals without conditions, existence of a material adverse change, and other reasons.”
Fantuzzi has advised Terex it disputes the grounds for termination and has threatened legal action. Discussions between the parties continue and the outcome is still to be determined.
Forkliftaction.com News contacted both companies for comment. Ron DeFeo, Terex chairman and chief executive officer, declined to comment and Fantuzzi did not respond.
|JCB cuts more jobs despite training success |
Staffordshire, United Kingdom
|Despite moves by JCB to up-skill its workforce through the biggest training initiative in its history, the UK–based construction equipment manufacturer has announced further job cuts.|
JCB will shed another 684 jobs because of the lack of bank credit to fund machine purchases and continuing low market confidence. The latest job losses affect 593 shopfloor and 91 staff positions. JCB has cut 1,000 jobs from its 4,800 workforce since July.
The company expects production in the UK in the first three months of 2009 will be around 75% lower than at the same time last year.
Matthew Taylor, JCB’s chief executive, says the company forecasted a moderate second quarter recovery in 2009. “This was based on governments around the world pumping huge amounts of money into recapitalising financial institutions and committing to stimulus packages that included significant spending on public construction projects.
“Two months later, despite the recapitalisation, customers are still struggling to buy machines because of a lack of available credit. Government-funded construction projects are not moving forward quickly enough and this means the anticipated second quarter recovery will not happen.”
Plants at JCB’s headquarters at Rocester, Uttoxeter, Cheadle, Rugeley and Derbyshire are all affected.
In October, Forkliftaction.com News reported on JCB employees’ attempt to protect jobs by voting for a shorter, 34-hour working week (Forkliftaction.com News #384), but despite this vote, more job cuts were announced in November (Forkliftaction.com News #387).
Gordon Richardson, JCB’s GMB works convenor, says while workers are looking at all options to challenge the proposed cuts, “the situation is looking extremely dire”.
Forkliftaction.com News recently reported on JCB’s plans to train its workforce with skills needed to survive the economic downturn (Forkliftaction.com News #391).
The training initiative has been heralded a success, with over 2,000 employees completing a four-day training course in early January.
Peter Wilkes, a JCB HBU machinist, says the training was a good idea. “Some of the training has been great for team building and working outside the box. I think it will stand me in good stead for my time at JCB and the qualifications I will gain will also definitely help.”
Lee Finney, a cylinder machinist with HBU, says he was pleased to be involved in something that helped him improve his skills. “The qualifications will certainly help me and will help give the JCB workforce the edge. The training has gone well and I think working in a team environment will help me learn from others and improve in my job.”
Ken Stepney, head of learning and development at JCB, says the company has been encouraged by the response to the training program. “In partnership with the colleges, we are equipping the workforce with the skills they need for the future. We are working to combat the problems caused by the economic downturn and readying ourselves for the opportunities a recovery will bring.”
|Crown sues Zheli for infringement |
Dayton, OH, United States
|Crown Equipment Corp has sued Hangzhou Zheli Forklift Group Ltd (Zheli) for infringement of US patents and registered trademarks.|
Under 10 claims for relief, Crown says the Zheli solicitations of Crown dealers, the Zheli website and the Zheli line of China-made forklifts violate numerous Crown property rights.
Outside attorneys for Crown filed the suit on 12 December in the US District Court in Dayton.
On 5 January through the US patent and trademark office, Crown demanded that Zheli respond within 20 days of service of the summons, saying, “If you fail to do so, judgment by default will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the complaint”.
The December filing includes a copy of a solicitation email that was shown on Zheli letterhead and attributed to “Angela” at Zheli in Fuyang City, China. The message says, in part: “Dear sir, I’m glad to learn from internet that you are dealing with Crown forklifts. I wonder whether you are interested in starting with a Chinese brand? Allow me to give a brief introduction about our company …” The email was sent to numerous Crown dealers in the US and Canada, says D Jeffrey Ireland with the Dayton law firm of Faruki Ireland & Cox PPL, representing Crown.
In its 27-page suit, Crown requests a federal jury to award declaratory judgments for infringement of two patents and infringement of trademarks for the colour beige and Crown’s Momentum ellipsis symbol; relief for false designation of product origin and unfair competition; additional judgments for infringement of Crown SC and FC forklift model designs and relief for other claims for common law trademark infringement, deceptive practices under the State of Ohio laws and common law trademark dilution.
The case has been assigned to Judge Thomas M Rose.
Zheli representatives in China and Naperville, Illinois did not respond to inquiries about the litigation.
The Zheli website says the firm’s UN-brand line incorporates European “advanced forklift technology, design idea, manufacturing process and management mode”. The Zheli line includes four diesel-powered models and two others using petrol or liquefied petroleum gas. The website indicates Japanese-made engines are installed to power five of those products, with a China-made engine used in the sixth.
Also, Zheli offers three- and four-wheel electric forklifts, each with a Zapi AC system controller, and narrow-aisle and reach models, each with a Curtis DC system controller.
Some images of equipment on the Zheli website have a striking similarity to—and may have been graphically manipulated from—photographs of forklifts from New Bremen, Ohio-based Crown.
The Zheli forklift operation is one of five subsidiaries within the Zheli Group. Zheli forklift says it has annual capacity to produce 30,000 units, occupies more than 133,000 square metres (and has invested CNY3.8 billion (USD3.97 million).
Underscoring its 30-year legacy, Zheli on its website says, “Our company has the biggest scale, most advanced technology, richest forklift manufacturing experience and longest forklift manufacturing history among the Chinese forklift manufacturers”.
The Zheli case is another indication of Crown’s intentions to protect its rights. In December without filing litigation, Crown resolved a separate less-egregious trademark dispute with E-P Equipment Co Ltd of Hangzhou, China and subsidiary E-P Equipment USA Corp of Inman, South Carolina. Crown and E-P agreed to end the trademark issue, which stems from E-P expropriating the Crown-protected beige colour on certain material handling equipment.
E-P agreed to stop using the colour on its equipment and making use of the colour in promotional materials and, by 19 May, to make sure its dealers, distributors and direct customers discontinue using beige in their promotional materials.
Neither Crown nor Zheli is exhibiting at the ProMat 2009 trade show taking place in Chicago, Illinois.
|Linde opens new facility |
Merthyr Tydfil, United Kingdom
|Linde has opened a new facility at its Merthyr Tydfil plant to capitalise on the increase in demand for heavy trucks.|
The GBP1.5 million (USD2.18 million) Giraffe House 2 will enable Linde to meet an increase in demand and assist new product development.
Giraffe House 2 will be used to finish the construction of vehicles that are capable of stacking up to eight 9-foot high freight containers.
Roland Hartwig, managing director of Linde Heavy Truck Division (LHTD), says 2008 was a productive year for the business unit, with a 40% increase in its largest truck output. “However, due to the vast rise we have seen in the demand for our trucks over the years, our existing facilities were showing a bottleneck in production.
“The new Giraffe House is part of the plan we announced in October last year to effectively double our output and provide for the increase in demand in the industry and for LHTD’s future plans for growth.”
|Seafood processor appeals forklift-related citations |
Olympia, WA, United States
|Ocean Cold Seafoods Inc is appealing state safety and industrial hygiene citations proposing fines of USD41,800, relating to a September 23, 2008 carbon monoxide poisoning incident at its Ocean Cold processing facility.|
On 12 December, workplace regulators from the Washington state department of labour and industry (L&I) issued two citations accusing parent company Ocean Cold of three serious repeat violations, six other serious violations and, not subject to fines, three general violations.
According to the citations, Ocean Cold neglected to inform and train employees about hazardous chemicals in the workplace, provide carbon monoxide hazard communication training, ensure employee completion of forklift operating training, maintain forklifts in accordance with manufacturer requirements, obtain manufacturer permission to remove parts from a forklift, make sure employees wore the installed seat belts and develop an accident prevention plan.
“Ten employees did not receive a safety orientation prior to their job assignments,” a citation said.
In addition, the L&I inspection found Ocean Cold did not immediately remove a suspect Mitsubishi model FG25K forklift from service and cited these problems: “propane fuel leakage due to a damaged regulator diaphragm” and “propane supply line connection to the carburetor was not sealed by the use of a clamp or other device en ensure a leak free connection”. That citation notes: “using a forklift with leaks in the fuel system exposes the operator and personnel working in the vicinity of the machine to hazards …”.
At the time of the carbon monoxide incident, four propane-powered forklifts in use: two Mitsubishi FG25K models, a Daewoo G25P-3 and a Doosan G25E-3.
A total of 13 propane forklifts were present at the worksite including Mitsubishi, Hyster and Komatsu models, says Elaine Fischer with the L&I department. “The owner believed the problem was caused by two Mitsubishi forklifts.”
Westport, Washington-based Ocean Cold will seek to make its case before the state board of industrial insurance appeals. As needed, the board reviews regulatory decisions relating to, among other things, safety citations under the Washington industrial safety and health act. The appeals board may take as long as a year to reach a conclusion.
An Ocean Cold executive did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
In dealing with the September 23 Ocean Cold emergency (Forkliftaction.com News #381), medics at the Grays Harbor Community Hospital treated 29 individuals, of whom 12 were transferred to the Virginia Mason Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle for hyperbaric treatment. Fire and police departments and an ambulance service responded to a 1:26 am call and found workers outside the plant vomiting and experiencing headaches.
In September 2007, the Olympia-based L&I department cited Ocean Cold for another carbon monoxide-poisoning incident, in that case involving a Caterpillar model GC18K forklift. Without appealing, Ocean Cold paid a USD10,050 fine for six serious violations that L&I inspectors identified in their 2007 investigation.
|Manitou aims to boost synergies with Gehl|
Waco, TX, United States
|Managers at Manitou Group’s North American unit in Waco and recently acquired Gehl Co are moving quickly to develop synergies between product lines and manufacturing capabilities. The entities are establishing various internal focus groups, reviewing departmental and operational structures and exploring ways to benefit the Manitou, Gehl and Mustang brands.|
Manitou Group subsidiary Tenedor Corp launched a friendly tender offer for Gehl on 7 September (Forkliftaction.com News #377) and completed the USD450 million transaction on 24 October.
Now, Manitou is seeking to boost marketing of Gehl skid-steer loaders and other equipment globally and use the Gehl distribution network in the US to reach the agricultural market with Manitou telehandlers, probably under the Gehl brand in North America.
Gehl is based in West Bend, Wisconsin and makes telescopic handlers and asphalt pavers in Yankton, South Dakota, and skid steer loaders in Madison, South Dakota.
At one of the South Dakota plants, Manitou North America may manufacture Manitou-designed telehandlers with US-sourced components by early 2010. Other Manitou manufacturing occurs in France, Italy and China.
The Manitou Group, which is based in Ancenis, France, would like to double Gehl sales revenue in the next three to five years.
|Forklift fleet for distribution centre |
Birmingham, United Kingdom
|UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has put over 240 Jungheinrich forklifts to work at the Hams Hall distribution centre. |
The contract was fulfilled over two phases, with some 152 trucks delivered in mid-2008 and a further 89 trucks becoming operational at the facility in October 2008.
Hams Hall provides both ambient and chilled storage, and serves Sainsbury’s stores throughout the West Midlands.
Sainsbury’s forklift fleet at the centre now includes Jungheinrich reach trucks, low-level order pickers, ride-on pallet trucks and models from Jungheinrich’s new VFG range of hydrostatic engine counterbalance trucks.
The trucks have been provided on contract hire and, as part of the package, Jungheinrich service engineers will be permanently based at the site to ensure that operational efficiency is maximised.
Derek Boghurst, Sainsbury’s material handling manager, says Sainsbury’s relationship with Jungheinrich is not just based on the provision of equipment. “It’s not just the quality of the trucks that convinced us to work with Jungheinrich,” he says. “We require suppliers who work in partnership with us and have the flexibility to adapt to our ever-changing demands.”
|Kalmar delivers its 4,500th carrier |
|Kalmar has delivered its 4,500th straddle carrier. The equipment has been installed for a container terminal and logistics company in Germany as part of an ongoing contract.|
Eurogate Bremerhaven took delivery of a Kalmar seventh-generation ESC440W straddle carrier equipped with additional special options. The machine will be used at the busy seaport to meet rising demand.
Over the past three years, container traffic through Bremerhaven has increased 50% and the port currently handles 5.6 million TEU annually.
Kalmar won the contract to supply Eurogate with 48 ESC440W machines last April and the straddle carrier delivered was part of this contract.
Emanuel Schiffer, president of Eurogate, says straddle carriers have always been the best option for the Bremerhaven operation.
“Kalmar’s straddle carriers have a reputation for good product reliability, which is imperative for our productivity. Bremerhaven plays an important role in Germany’s exports; therefore, we cannot compromise on reliability.
“Environmental issues are important to us. Our biggest challenges in Bremerhaven are fuel utilisation, controlling emissions and noise protection. Noise protection efforts are especially important when we work close to cities. Kalmar fulfils these requirements well. At the moment, we are investigating the possibility of using hybrid straddle carriers.”
|Maintex cranes to be certified for EU sales |
Georgetown, TX, United States
|Manitex has announced changes to the design of two cranes so they can be CE-certified and sold in the European Union. |
The lifting equipment and aerial platform company plans to sell 40-tonne and 50-tonne models in Central and Eastern Europe.
CE marking certifies that the manufacturer has built the crane in line with the EU Machinery Directive.
Andrew Rooke, CEO and president of Manitex, says the CE mark on the cranes will open up the European market. “Direct marketing, as well as the identification of suitable European dealers, has already commenced and we believe our cranes will provide a competitive solution against European truck cranes traditionally used in these territories.”
Changes to the 50-tonne cranes will make load management and setup easier for the sole operator. A 'no-free-swing' option has been added for oil field service and power grid applications.
|Green tyre filling option |
|German tyre filling company Zeus has developed a new environmentally friendly OTR flat-proofing solution for the front-end loader and articulated dump truck (ADT) market.|
The TRIOFill can enhance the life span of tyres by preventing punctures and blowouts. It is a flat- proofing solution based on a ‘3-Component (PUR) Structure’ of two liquid polyurethanes and one of granulated rubber.
Martin Roesler, managing director of Zeus Tyre Filling Systems, says the new offering is a greener, cleaner and more cost-efficient option.
The product combined with its pumping system employs an electrically driven tyre-filling pump, which is quiet, easy and quick to clean. Roesler says it is more environmentally friendly and faster by over 10 litres/minute than traditional pumping systems.
He says the benefits of TRIOFill will be attractive to front-end loader and ADT owners and end-users operating in hazardous, abrasive mining and construction sites. “The benefits of TRIOFill are an important issue where plant downtime due to tyre damage, blow-outs and punctures severely hampers site operating schedules and drastically escalates plant operational costs.”
The product provides sidewall-to-sidewall tyre protection from external penetration and 100% elimination of all flats, punctures and blowouts. According to Zeus, TRIOFill also eliminates leaking valves, vehicle instability problems and under-inflated tyres, which can contribute to poor tyre performance, unnecessary tyre wear, low grip and wheel slippage.
TRIOFill can be used across a wide range of tyre types, sizes, applications and environments from trailer and trolley carts, to forklifts and up to large earthmoving tyres.
|New offerings for the new year |
Hyster’s new three-wheel and four-wheel forklifts have been designed to help companies reduce materials handling costs.
The three-wheel J1.5-2.0XNT and the four-wheel J1.6-2.0XN range offers a wide choice of electric counterbalance models and configurations. Standard models have between 1.5-tonne to 2-tonne lifting capacities with various lift heights and are available in three or four steer-wheel, front-wheel drive configurations.
David Rowell, European operations manager for Hyster, says the new electric forklifts have been designed to meet the increasing demands of the current industrial climate. “Reduced lifetime costs, reduced energy consumption, maximum efficiency, maximum productivity, total reliability and flexibility are all key requirements.”
According to Hyster, the new forklifts record the lowest energy consumption levels in the industry while still achieving high productivity.
Marysville, KN, US
Landoll has introduced a new LP gas-powered Bendi forklift to meet the demands of narrow-aisle storage operations.
The forklift is capable of precise movements in tight aisles and high elevations and features an integrated hydrostatic drive, lift and steering system.
Landoll says even though the forklift is gas-fueled, it rides with an "electric truck feel" that adds to “driver confidence and performance, increasing productivity and efficiency”.
It can be operated over multiple shifts without the need for battery changing stations or charging areas. It is available in 4,000 pound (1,814 kilogram) capacities with lift heights of up to 360 inches (914 centimetres).
German manufacturer Still has extended its EXV high-lift stacker series to include two additional models.
The EXV 10 Basic (single mast) has a load capacity of 2,204 pounds (1,000 kilograms) and the EXV 12i with initial lift to 150 mm has a load capacity of 2,645 pounds (1,200 kilograms). The EXV 12i is ideal for crossing slopes and ramps.
The initial lift of the EXV 12i increases the floor clearance to 5.9 inches (150 mm) and can easily operate on loading ramps or bumpy floors. The Eco-mode saves energy and allows safe transport of fragile goods like glass.
|Movers and Shakers |
Doosan Group has promoted Shim Kyu-sang to president and chief operating officer (COO) and Kim Woong-beom has been named CEO of the newly formed Doosan DST. Shim Kyu-sang was a senior advisor to Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and Kim Woong-beom was the executive vice president of the group's construction equipment unit, Doosan Infracore. A restructure of other areas of the company saw 45 mid-level managers promoted to executive-level positions.
After 58 years of service, Donald E. Rodgers has retired from JH Ryder Machinery Ltd. Rodgers started working for JH Ryder in 1951 when he was 19. He was the manager for government accounts for the past 20 years. (See profile - Forkliftaction.com News #393).
Genie/Terex Aerial Work Platforms has appointed Phil Graysmark as divisional sales manager for the UK, Ireland and Benelux. He takes over from John Fuller. Graysmark will be responsible for key accounts and managing the sales teams in the five countries. Prior to joining Genie/Terex Aerial Work Platforms in November 2008, Graysmark worked for Terex Financial Services for two years.
|CeMAT India should alternate years |
|An exhibitor is calling for a change of venue for CeMAT India, saying organisers should move the event to a location that allows for better visitor access.|
Sanjoy Roychoudhury, TVH Group Middle East territory manager, says TVH participated in CeMAT 2007 and was more satisfied with 2007’s result after the TVH reseller network received more regional end-user customers than 2008.
Roychoudhury says CeMAT 2007 was a much better event from the company’s perspective. “CeMAT 2007 was held in Hall 2, which was logistically a better position than 2008 in Hall 3.”
“Hall 2 is in there middle of the exhibition ground and is a better position to attract visitors,” he says, “where Hall 3 is in the far corner of the exhibition ground; the main gate was never used and only a side gate was used by visitors for entry and exit.”
Roychoudhury says TVH raised these issues with CeMAT. “The criticism should not be viewed in a negative way,” he explains. “It is to help with better planning in future.”
TVH also suggested the event should not be run back-to-back.
“In 2007, CeMAT organised the first material show in India and all major manufacturers were present,” he says. “But due to the global economic crisis and also due to the Mumbai terrorist attack, some like Baoli and Hyutsu did not participate.”
“However, the last two days, the visitor response was much better. In my opinion, in general, there are fewer visitors in the whole event.”
Delegates at CeMAT China late last year also questioned the viability of annual events, saying visitor numbers would increase if the show was held on alternate years.
|Liebherr sells to Algeria |
Port de Béjaia, Algeria
|Liebherr Container Cranes Ltd has secured its first Algerian contract to supply two RTGs to Béjaia Mediterranean Terminal (BMT). The RTGs will be delivered in late 2009. |
BMT is a fully dedicated modern container terminal in Algeria and is a joint venture between Portek and Entreprise Portuaire De Béjaia.
|Drugs smuggled in a forklift battery |
|A Canadian man allegedly used a forklift battery cell to smuggle cocaine into Australia.|
The 56-year-old man was arrested this week in Sydney after attempting to smuggle 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of cocaine in December. The haul had a street value of USD1.16 million (AUD2.45 million).
Customs officers at Sydney's Port Botany container examination facility found the drugs after an x-ray examination of a forklift from Mexico.
Customs officers drilled into one of the forklift's 24 battery cells to reveal a white powder that tested positive for cocaine.
Paul Davy, Australian managing director of battery manufacturer Energy Tech, says forklift batteries can be up to one metre square and contain around 40 gallons (50 kilograms) of electrolytes. “If you took the electrolytes out, you could fit up to 40 gallons of drugs in it.”
Davy said for the man to fit 22 pounds of cocaine in a forklift battery cell, he would have had to prepare it. “Forklift batteries are made up of individual multiple cells that are all made of plastic,” he says.
“The man would have had to take off the top, take everything out, wash it, line it with plastic and then put the drugs in.”
Davy says a forklift battery cell is just another type of container.
Customs spokeswoman Catherine Asbridge says detection of this quantity of cocaine was significant. "This seizure should send a strong warning to other potential importers of illegal drugs that, no matter how sophisticated the concealment, their shipments will be intercepted," Asbridge says.
Disclaimer: Forkliftaction.com News does not recommend the use of batteries for any purpose other than their intended functions, and Davy’s comments are purely academic. There is no suggestion that the battery used in this case is at all related to his firm.
|Toyota recognises skills |
Sydney, NSW, Australia
|An apprentice forklift truck technician has won a trip to Japan in the annual Toyota Material Handling (TMH) National Skills Competition. |
According to Logistics Magazine, Sydneysider Luke Rowley, an apprentice technician based at Toyota Material Handling in Moorebank, defeated five other finalists from around Australia after a day of practical tests.
He will fly to Japan to tour Toyota's world-leading forklift manufacturing facility in Toyota City, near Nagoya.
Three winners were named in the tradesmen section of the TMH National Skills Competition - one each for the three brands within the Toyota Material Handling Group. John Grozdovski from TMH (VIC) was the Toyota Industrial Equipment winner, Shaun Xerri from TMH (NSW) was the BT Lift Truck winner, and TMH Qld's John Robertson won the Raymond Forklift section.
All three will receive $3,000 travel vouchers.
The president of Toyota Material Handling Australia, Steve Harper, says the final of the TMH National Skills Competition was the culmination of a three-stage process of written, oral and practical testing.
"Contestants from Toyota Material Handling branches across Australia underwent three preliminary examinations, with those scoring the highest score in each region advancing to the national final," he says.
The finalists were required to identify a fault using the forklift's on-board diagnosis system, and advise the adjudicator of their diagnosis.
They each had 45 minutes to complete the task, and were judged on their customer service, adherence to work practices, use of the Toyota workshop manual and the following of correct procedures.
Harper claims Toyota has a fine tradition to uphold in technical training: "Two decades ago, Toyota was the first materials handling equipment supplier in Australia to develop and offer specialist TAFE training for forklift truck technicians".
|Stimulus may help exporters |
Sydney, NSW, Australia
|Australian businesses that export to the US are bracing for a tough year as the world's biggest economy grapples with recession, but Australia's trade commission, Austrade, says there is cause for optimism in the form of US president-elect Barack Obama's massive fiscal stimulus package.|
AAP quotes Austrade senior trade commissioner Sally-Ann Watts as saying Australian companies could benefit from the US stimulus package, worth an estimated USD775 billion (AUD1.09 trillion), with its emphasis on infrastructure such as bridges, roads and clean technology.
Exports to the US - Australia's third largest export market - rose by 8.2% in 2007/08, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Watts believes a similar - if not better - performance is possible this financial year, given last year's result was achieved despite a high Australian dollar.
"I think we may have a chance at maintaining our increase," Watts says. "Things will get a bit slower. You will have to try harder to get it, but there are still great opportunities.
"People's risk appetite has reduced so the orders are smaller in size and taking longer to be signed, but the business is still happening."
Australian companies get a chance to show off their wares over the next fortnight during Austrade's annual "G'Day USA" festival.
It is the sixth time Austrade has run the initiative and the theme has shifted from promoting mainly tourism and entertainment to a broader business focus.
Watts says there was scope to do more trade-related events given the increasing familiarity of US people with Australia.
Australian Institute of Export executive director Ian Murray expects the manufacturing and services sectors to be hit hardest by the US downturn. But he notes that Australian companies could benefit from the clamour for further regulation of financial markets in the wake of the global credit crunch.
|B&B may sell UK port |
Sydney, NSW, Ashmore and Cartier Islands
|Australian investment fund Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Group may sell PD Ports Plc, operator of Britain’s third-biggest container dock.|
The Bloomberg agency reports that Babcock doesn’t plan to hold an auction, but will consider a sale should it receive offers.
B&B is believed to be looking for at least AUD1 billion for PD, after buying it for AUD941.5 million in 2005.
Babcock Infrastructure, managed by Babcock & Brown Ltd., said last year it would consider selling assets as it seeks to cut borrowing and provide funds for investment.
PD’s biggest business is Teesport, which handles about 6,000 ships and 50 million tonnes of cargo a year.
PD Ports also manages the ports of Hull and Immingham, operates shipping services across the UK and owns a logistics and freight forwarding service, according to the Bloomberg report. The company first sold stock on London’s Alternative Investment Market in July 2004 and moved to a full London Stock Exchange listing in December of that year.
Babcock Infrastructure, whose assets also include railways, electricity grids and gas pipelines, slumped 93% last year on investor concern the company will struggle to refinance debt amid tighter credit markets and the global recession.
|SCLAA meets for cricket|
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
|The Queensland branch of the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) will be holding its first social event of the year on January 28.|
The SCLAA is inviting members and their guests to watch the Queensland Cricketers’ Club Ford Ranger Cup one-day match (Queensland v Western Australia). Arrival time is 4.0pm and the match is taking place at the Queensland Cricketers’ Club, opposite the German Club near Vulture Street, 3 Km from the CBD.
Admission will be $44 for members ($55 for non-members), which includes grandstand seating, drinks and nibblies.
For more information, email email@example.com
|Forklift clocked at 120km/h |
Wellington, New Zealand
|New Zealanders’ love of speed has become the stuff of legends after Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Kiwi Burt Munro, who spent years building a 1920 Indian motorcycle with which he set the land-speed world record at Utah's Bonneville. Now, a mystery New Zealander is claiming a land-speed record in a forklift, after being clocked doing close to 120km/h.|
According to TVNZ, management of an Invercargill carrying company are asking questions of staff after receiving a speeding infringement notice in the mail.
It came from police in Paraparumu, reporting a vehicle registered to Lindsay Carrying Company doing close to 119km/hour on State Highway 1 last Wednesday.
Assistant manager Shelley Kempton says a check of the company vehicles traced the plate to the firm's forklift.
Kempton says the usual drivers, her husband Roger and the company owner, declare it was not them.
It’s believed the forklift’s plates were swapped before the offence was committed.
But the transport company is holding onto the proof of its forklift’s performance. Kempton says the infringement and a bounty notice are going on the office wall. Police have asked that the notice be shredded.
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|Save aisle space with Fiora forklifts |
|Lateral lift trucks (sideloaders) fulfil the need to minimize aisle widths in warehouses and to create more storage space by making best use of the warehouse heights. Since 1957, FIORA is specialized in designing, building and selling lift trucks with lateral, retractable, multidirectional forks and 4-way sideloaders. FIORA trucks can be driven both sideways and head-on and can rotate 360 degrees. FIORA markets its sideloaders through a specialized sales network and always guarantees a prompt and professional service.|
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Editorial Calendar 2009
Rough Terrain forklifts
Safety products in MH
Forklift Market in Canada
Forklift Market in the United Kingdom
Fleet & Asset management
Narrow Aisle forklifts
Forklift batteries and power solutions
Forklift Market in India