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Dear reader,
WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #396 - 05 February 2009 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Verdict against Crown upheld

INSIDE FORKLIFTACTION.COM

SPECIAL REPORT: Tough forklifts trim down

NEWS
Barloworld lays off staff
Oshkosh reports lower access equipment sales
Merlo sell 7,000th telehandler
Nestlé, WhiteWave buy fast-charge systems
Verdict against Crown upheld
Features added to Manitex cranes
New order picker boosts efficiency
New ECH launched at ProMAT
Flexi helps increase production
Top Clark dealers announced
Boys abandon stolen forklifts in desert

LOCAL NEWS
Flexilift gets first Hyundai stock
More straddle carriers for Brisbane
Melbourne port strengthens NSW presence
Credit crisis impacts cashflow pressures
No injuries in crane tipover incident

MEDIA RELEASES
Strong demand for Booths at “BFE 2009”

PRODUCT WATCH
Lightweight Forklift Truck Cylinders from Ragasco
RAVAS introduces iForks, the new generation scale forks for forklift trucks

ADVERTISEMENTS
Take your news to even bigger audiences.

INDUSTRY PROFILE
Historic company leads RFID thrust



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Inside Forkliftaction.com
In these tough times, we all need a bit of inspiration and this week’s profiled company, Peacock Bros., certainly provides that. The Australian company last year celebrated its 120th birthday, but interestingly Peacock today finds itself at the forefront of technology. What started as a business selling general ledgers and other office supplies has evolved into a regional pioneer of RFID technology for forklifts. Rather than simply sticking to what it knew best, the company has explored new opportunities and has embraced technology along the way. This approach is a great example, particularly for those businesses whose traditional revenue streams may be threatened by the current economic crisis. If we can’t adapt to changing conditions, there’s no way we’ll survive, let alone thrive.




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SPECIAL FEATURE
Tough forklifts trim down
International
Rough terrain forklifts have been around for over 60 years ago and are a common sight on construction projects and lumberyards.  This materials handling option has been trimmed down and offers companies a reliable option for those tough handling jobs.  Read more
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NEWS STORIES
Barloworld lays off staff
Berkshire, United Kingdom
Barloworld UK has announced it will cut costs and may reduce staff numbers in response to the decline in the UK economy.

However, the company says in a statement that while it looks for ways to reduce costs and wastage, it will also introduce products and processes to improve value-added services to all its customers.

Barloworld is attempting to minimise redundancies through various measures but says, “inevitably some job losses are expected”.

Unconfirmed reports indicate as many as 150 jobs may go.

Geoff Tucker, UK managing director, says during these difficult economic times the company must become stronger, more efficient and ever more focused on delivering service excellence to customers. “Many of our customers will be looking at doing the same thing in their operations, so we must ensure that we are in a position to really add value to each one of them.  

Tucker says the structural changes are being co-ordinated so there will be no disruption to service delivery. “We will emerge stronger and more resilient.”

Barloworld employs over 1,100 people in the UK.

Another British operator, Briggs Equipment UK,  is also believed to have laid off a number of staff, according to contributors to the Forkliftaction.com Discussion Forum.

The company has not responded to Forkliftaction.com News’ requests for more information.

Briggs is the sole national distributor for Cat forklifts and offers a comprehensive range of Caterpillar counterbalance forklift trucks and warehouse equipment.

Meanwhile, Barloworld Handling has achieved ISO9001:2000 re-certification for the next three years after a recent BSI Strategic Review.

Chris Wren, national quality manager at Barloworld Handling, says current and future customers demand that it has solid quality procedures across all sections of business backed up by The British Standards Institute (BSI) & The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

The ISO9001:2000 quality re-certification for all its mainland UK sites ensures customer satisfaction.

Wren explains the re-certification is very important as the company strives for continuous improvement and service excellence.

“ISO9001:2000 certification is a valuable asset to our business and assists us in setting us apart from our competitors. The next step for the business is to make the transition to the recently updated quality standards ISO9001:2008 within the next six months,” adds Wren.
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Oshkosh reports lower access equipment sales
Oshkosh, WI, United States
Equipment sales at Oshkosh Corp decreased 39.7% to USD368.4 million for the quarter ended 31 December. Backlog is down 84.9% for the segment, which includes JLG aerial work platforms and JLG, SkyTrak and Lull telehandlers.

Compared to the same period last year, access equipment sales in Europe declined 51% while those in North America were down 45%. Access equipment “customers remained cautious with purchases”, Oshkosh says in a regulatory filing. “Tightening credit markets and recessionary economies further impacted construction of new residential and nonresidential projects.”

Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based Oshkosh reported a company-wide loss of USD20.6 million on sales for USD1.39 billion for the quarter versus profit of USD35.2 million on sales of USD1.50 billion in the previous year’s comparable quarter.

Meanwhile, Terex Corp of Westport, Connecticut, said 3 February it expects its earnings for 2008 to be approximately 5% below the low end of its previous full-year guidance range between USD5.69 and USD5.79 per fully diluted share. Terex plans to release its 2008 financial results on 11 February.

This revised guidance excludes charges associated with the reduction of production levels, asset impairments and certain other items. Comparable earnings for the full year of 2007 were USD5.85 per fully diluted share.

“Our fourth quarter 2008 results were affected by the rapid change in global economic conditions more than we anticipated, as well as continued input cost pressure,” Ron DeFeo, chairman and chief executive officer, says in a statement. “We continue to feel the negative effect that credit availability has on customer sentiment and demand for our products, particularly in our construction, materials processing and (Terex- and Genie-brand) aerial work platforms businesses, as well as our smaller crane and tower crane product lines."
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Merlo sell 7,000th telehandler
Hampshire, United Kingdom
A UK telehandler supplier has reached a significant milestone after supplying thousands of units in the UK.

Since 1983, Merlo UK has sold over 7,000 Merlo telehandlers. The 7,000th machine was sold to Southeast-based GT Lifting Solutions Ltd and was supplied by East London Merlo dealer CBL. The historic vehicle was a 25-metre (82-foot) lift Roto 40.25 MCSS.

Graham Trundell, managing director of GT Lifting Solutions, says the company now has eight 25-metre Rotos. “The demand is continuing in this sector, quite unlike the general house building side. The Roto offers a spectacular performance and can often replace several machines on-site.”

GT Lifting Solutions also uses several heavy-lift Merlo 6- and 10-tonne capacity telehandlers as well as the Roto fleet of 16-metre (52-foot), 21-metre (68-foot) and 25-metre (82-foot) machines.

Peter Grant, marketing manager for Merlo UK, says the Merlo Group produced 7,000 units in 2008, of which 6,200 were rough terrain telehandlers. “The balance is forestry tractors, tracked carrier vehicles and urban waste collection vehicles.”

Grant says Merlo UK reports that the specialised telehandler market is still strong, and believes that the Italian manufacturing plant is well placed in the current economic conditions.  

He believes the UK specialised telehandler market is strong because it operates in a different market. “The mass of the UK market is normally the plant hire and general house builder market. This market has been severely hit in the credit crunch.  

“Merlo UK is strongest in the farm market - about 30% of the total market place. At the moment, the farm market remains strong. The Merlo dealer network and machine reputation places it very well in that group. Indeed, we have seen Merlo penetration increase significantly over the past two to three years.”
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Nestlé, WhiteWave buy fast-charge systems
Monrovia, CA, United States
Fast-charge systems for forklifts are gaining visibility through a range of product purveyors and distributors.

PosiCharge-brand systems from AeroVironment Inc (AV) are installed now on more than 200 battery-powered materials handling units in 14 North American distribution centres and manufacturing facilities of Nestlé SA.

Locations include a state-of-the-art Anderson, Indiana beverage plant that has a sterile manufacturing environment and onsite computerised warehousing, says George Sheats, manager of operations and logistics procurement for Nestlé North America business services.

“We are eager to install additional PosiCharge systems in Anderson as well as in our Canadian distribution hub in Brampton, Ontario,” notes Sheats. Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestlé SA competes globally in the nutrition, health and wellness markets.

Meanwhile, Monrovia-based AV and the WhiteWave business segment of Dean Foods Co will hold a 17 February ceremony recognising WhiteWave as the official PosiCharge launch customer for the fast-charger partnership (Forkliftaction.com News #380) between AV and Toyota Material Handling USA Inc dealerships, says Ryan Gibson, manager of AV dealer development.

AV has installed 30 PosiCharge systems on WhiteWave forklifts, pallet jacks, reach trucks and narrow-aisle trucks in a City of Industry, California facility. During 2007, Dean Foods consolidated three operating units in establishing its WhiteWave platform for Dean’s nationally branded products.

Toyota-Lift of Los Angeles Inc in Santa Fe Springs, California introduced AV and WhiteWave, says James Ramsey, WhiteWave logistics manager.

On 17 September, AV began instructing Toyota forklift dealers how to sell, install and service the PosiCharge line, notes John Kim, general manager for AV electric vehicle power systems. As schedules allow, AV trainers intend to roll out the program to each of the 68 authorised Toyota forklift dealerships with a total of 190 US locations through group events, joint sales calls and individual dealer meetings.

Beginning in 2000, AV installed fast-charge systems on equipment at Ford Motor Co, American Airlines and Continental Airlines. Installations at Ikea and Southwest Airlines began in 2005 and at Del Monte Foods in 2006.

AV staff members underscore productivity benefits. A PosiCharge system can eliminate the need for battery changing or storage, reduce workplace vehicle traffic volume and boost work environment health and safety conditions. Each AV PosiCharge system costs USD7,500 to USD10,000 per vehicle, depending on the model.

Other US-based suppliers of fast-charge systems include Power Designers USA LLC of Madison, Wisconsin and Aker Wade Power Technologies LLC of Charlottesville, Virginia.
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This takes our news to even bigger audiences and ensures the greatest distribution of your product profiles and media releases to professionals throughout the world.

This process also pushes your news and features into many of the Google ‘News Alert’ subscriptions in the materials handling sector, providing even more exposure for your business and products.

We’re determined to get your message out there – to as many prospects as possible.

If you’d like to find out about our extended reach – and our commitment to value-for-money marketing, please contact our friendly sales team for an obligation-free quote: email to info@forkliftaction.com, phone +61 7 3369 9090 or fax to +61 7 3369 9096.
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Verdict against Crown upheld
Boston, MA, United States
An appeals court has upheld a verdict against Crown Equipment Corp in the forklift-related death of operator Thomas Brown on 1 August 2003 at Prime Tanning Co Inc in Berwick, Maine (Forkliftaction.com News #391).

The law department at New Bremen, Ohio-based Crown expresses disappointment at the decision of the first circuit US Court of Appeals in Boston and concern for what the decision says to the manufacturing community. Crown is considering additional appellate efforts.

While moving chemicals in a storage area, Brown was asphyxiated. His chest was compressed between a shelving unit and the dashboard of a 1989 Crown stand-up forklift. Prime Tanning was the third owner of the forklift. The trial court in Portland, Maine found the Crown design safe but cited Crown’s post-sale failure to warn in making an award.

Crown says the appellate opinion “does not reflect the level of thoughtful consideration of all factors and reasoning Crown hoped for from such an important judicial panel. It is absolutely essential that juries are instructed correctly on the law in order for their verdicts to be fair to all parties. The jury was given the proper legal instruction on the question of whether Crown's product was defective, and they found for Crown on that claim. Specifically, the jury found there was no defect in Crown's product. Conversely, as every appellate judge involved in reviewing this case has agreed, the jury was given the wrong legal instruction to use in deciding the claim that Crown failed to give a proper post-sale warning. The jury found against Crown on that claim. Even though this critical mistake is acknowledged by the judges, they deny Crown a new, fair trial on the post-sale warning claim. This is contrary to law and a denial of Crown's due process rights.”

Crown says the decision sends “a disturbing message” to industry.

“Crown is a responsible manufacturer,” the company says. “The Crown design advanced the safety for this type of product and became a market leader. As the jury said, the product is safe and not defective. However, Crown, like many other manufacturers, over the life of the product developed a feature that improved safety even more. Even though a manufacturer in this situation has no legal duty to make this feature available to previous buyers, Crown voluntarily did make a field retrofit kit available. It mailed thousands of notices to the original purchasers. Mr. Brown's employer did not receive a letter because they did not purchase the truck from Crown; they bought it third-hand on the used market. Nonetheless, after the accident, Mr. Brown's employer acknowledged they had a Crown operator manual in their possession that warned of the danger.”

Crown sees irony in the case.

“Crown did the right thing - making safety enhancements available to previous buyers,” the company says. “If it had done nothing, Crown would not have lost this trial. Even so, and even in the environment of these challenging economic times, Crown will not sacrifice on safety. But we do expect that if there is litigation, both parties will receive a fair trial. Because the jury was given an improper instruction on the warning issue, Crown did not get a fair trial.”

The trial court was instructed to recalculate the damages award, which could exceed USD1.85 million including pre-judgment and post-judgment interest and legal costs. “The amount of the change is not material,” says John G Maxa, Crown vice president and general counsel.
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Features added to Manitex cranes
Georgetown, TX, United States
Manitex has finalised upgrades to its 50-tonne capacity boom crane, making the machine more controllable.

Manitex has made standard its jib-pinning aid when the crane is fitted with an optional jib. The jib-jack helps a single operator attach the jib pins without requiring cribbing or special tools.

The crane can now come with a no-free-swing system for oilfield service and power grid applications.

Randy Robertson, director of sales and marketing for Manitex, says the no-free-swing option will also equip the operator with better control for coil tubing operations and specific power grid applications. “The operator will have one less variable to deal with, and be able to focus more on the load and overall lift operations."

Manitex announced earlier this year changes would be made to the design of two cranes so they can be CE-certified and sold in the European Union (Forkliftaction.com News#393).
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New order picker boosts efficiency
Järvenpää, Finland
The new low-level order picker from Rocla offers logistics centres and warehouses a fast and efficient vehicle for picking work.

Independent tests found the Rapid is 20% more efficient than others on the market. Petteri Masalin, Rocla’s design director, explains that Rocla combined its understanding of customers’ processes with innovative product development and design to produce this product. ”Extensive user and warehouse environment studies at logistics centres were the starting point for Rapid’s development.”

The Rapid’s driver space has grown by 40% without altering the size of the vehicle, which helps with the flow of picking work.

According to Rocla, the Rapid has the biggest operator platform in the market. It has bevelled corners, sturdy ergonomic handles and its low step-up height makes it easy to access.

The intelligent floor detects the driver’s presence automatically. The vehicle is capable of being driven in several different positions and is able to take off instantly once the driver mounts the vehicle, which makes driving between picking locations faster.

Rocla’s steering wheel design is inspired by the gaming world. ”Picking work is done largely by the younger generation who has grown up playing computer games,” says Masalin. ”The new steering wheel resembles game controls, which makes it easy for inexperienced drivers to use.”

Drivers can operate the steering wheel in different ways and it can be operated with one hand. Its position and height can be adjusted for different drivers. The vehicle can be adjusted to individual drivers’ specific preference with a driver-specific PIN code.
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New ECH launched at ProMAT
Bedford Park, IL, United States
Manufacturer of heavy-lifting products Hoist Liftruck unveiled its new empty container handler (ECH) that features a modular chassis and inverted mast design at ProMat 2009.

West Coast depot service provider Fast Lane Transportation ordered two of Hoist’s new ECH series to in November last year (Forkliftaction.com News #388).

The ECH series can handle up to 8 x 8.6 foot or 7 x 9.6 foot high single ISO containers and up to two 6 x 8.6 foot or two 5 x 9.6 foot high double ISO containers.

The series has fast lifting speeds, wide over-drive tyres and a large reserve capacity.

The modular chassis design makes the handler easy to assemble and means freight costs are reduced. The ECH series has an inverted mast design with a rigid inner mast and telescoping outer section for reduced torsional stresses and increased durability and visibility.

The cab is elevated and features an angled overhead window for excellent visibility at all load elevations.

The spreader is designed to handle 20‐, 40‐ and 53‐foot containers.

Hoist is offering customers a special introductory price and reduced freight costs on ECH orders.  

Hoist Liftruck is in the process of developing its loaded container handler (LCH Series) to complement its ECH Series, which is scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2009.
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Flexi helps increase production
Sindelfingen, Germany
Narrow Aisle’s Flexi EURO forklifts have been instrumental in assisting the international automobile supplier maximise its facility space and double its product targets.

Brose produces door systems for the Mercedes S, C and E ranges and had been producing up to 4,200 door systems per day. However, after purchasing a Flexi, it is now pumping out about 9,000 units per day.

Brose did not want to expand the size of its warehouse so it sought assistance from Narrow Aisle for alternative options.

The company has leased two Flexi EUROs to do the work that previously required both counterbalance and reach trucks.

By using the Flexi, Brose has been able to create a more compact space at the factory in Sindelfingen by reducing the aisle widths from 4 metres (13 feet) to 2 metres (6.5 feet).

Jan Francke, production manager at the Sindelfingen plant and sister factory at Rastatt, says he identified the Flexi articulated forklift as a potential solution to the company’s space problem after seeing a demonstration of it at the LogiMAT exhibition at Stuttgart.

“During the LogiMAT fair, an experienced forklift driver from our factory inspected the Flexi. We were impressed by the fact that the Flexi can work in an aisle width of only about 1,700 mm (66 inches) and lift as high as 12 metres (39 feet).”

The Flexi solution was compared with two alternatives – a reach truck and a machine that had been especially designed for Brose.

“We dismissed the bespoke machines as we could only truly judge how effective they were once they had been manufactured,” says Francke.

The reach truck was considered unsuitable because of its width. “If we used reach trucks, we would have had to increase the distance between the pallets and consequently we would have lost space,” says Francke.

John Maguire, sales director of Narrow Aisle Flexi, says “the Flexi EURO is creating a lot of interest throughout Germany especially in manufacturing industries where space is at a premium and costs need to be controlled”.

“We have demonstrated the product at several trade fairs in the country throughout 2008 and the feedback we have had has been overwhelmingly positive.”
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Top Clark dealers announced
Lexington, KY, United States
US materials handling manufacturer Clark Material Handling Company has announced the recipients of its top parts dealers and dealership awards.

Clark has recognised 22 dealerships from across North America for their outstanding sales in parts. To receive the awards, dealerships had to reach parts purchasing targets above their marketing plans or be the top performers in their respective region.

The company also announced the recipients of its prestigious top dealership awards. The “Dealer of Excellence” and “Dealer of Distinction” annual awards honour the dedication and accomplishments of Clark’s dealers.

Dennis Lawrence, president and CEO of Clark, says the teamwork between the company and dealers has never been stronger. “We look forward to another year of market share gain and development of a strong, prosperous dealer network.”

Greg Hydes, vice president of parts operations for Clark, says even with a difficult economy, the company has experienced solid growth in 2008. “The dealers’ accomplishments will be celebrated with all recipients and a guest receiving a five-day, all-expenses-paid cruise,” he adds.

Top Parts Dealerships
Raymond of New Jersey – Union, NJ
Jefferds Corporation – St. Albans, WV
Alliance Material Handling – Jessup, MD
Delta Material Handling – Memphis, TN
Equipment Depot – Houston, TX
A.R. Williams – Calgary, AB, CAN
Tri-Lift – Greensboro, NC
J.H. Ryder – Toronto, ON, Canada
Forklifts of Toledo – Toledo, OH
Valley Industrial – Youngstown, OH
Ozmaq – San Luis, SL, MX
Capital Equipment – Hartland, WI
All-Lift – Atlanta, GA
G&W Equipment – Charlotte, NC
Homestead Material Handling – Roanoke, VA
Ogden Forklifts – Atlanta, GA
Louisiana Lift – New Orleans, LA
Clarklift of Florida – Orlando, FL
MHI – Dalton, GA
Equipment Depot – Mechanicsburg, PA
Team Power – Sacramento, CA
Forklifts of Minnesota – Minneapolis, MN

“Dealer of Excellence” Winners
Homestead Material Handling – Roanoke, VA
A.R. Williams – Calgary, AB, Canada
Tri-Lift NC – Greensboro, NC
Jefferds Corporation – Charleston, WV
Alliance Material Handling – Jessup, MD

“Dealer of Distinction” Winners
Louisiana Lift – New Orleans, LA
K-Lift Service Company – Salinas, CA
Williams Machinery – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Ogden Forklifts – Atlanta, GA
W.E. Johnson – Miami, FL
Valley Industrial – Youngstown, OH
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Boys abandon stolen forklifts in desert
Surprise, AZ, United States
Two 15-year-old boys found short-lived joy in operating forklifts they stole from a construction site in Surprise, north-east of Phoenix.

Surveillance images showed the boys riding bicycles into an unfinished parking garage and driving away in a pair of 2005 Daewoo G25E forklifts that the contractor had leased from RSC Equipment Rental of Phoenix, Arizona. Employees of the garage construction company left the keys in the ignition.

The boys’ night-time adventure ended after they drove about half a mile (0.8 km) from the four-storey garage on North Civic Center Plaza.

“They rode in on bikes, wanted to play with the forklifts and thought it would be fun to race in the desert,” says Sgt Mark Ortega. “The forklifts were buried up to their axles and abandoned.” Footprints in the dirt matched the shoes of one of the boys.

Police questioned possible suspects and elicited a confession. Police charged the boys with suspicion of felony theft and released them to their parents.

The forklifts were not damaged. “We just had to tow them out of there,” says Mike Deane with RSC Equipment.
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LOCAL STORIES
 
Flexilift gets first Hyundai stock
Dandenong, Victoria, Australia
Forklift supplier Flexilift will get its first shipment of Hyundai forklift equipment next week after signing a contract as the exclusive importer.

Managing director Stephen Ritchie tells Forkliftaction.com News that the Korean-based company selected Flexilift as its Australian distributors because it was impressed by the company’s marketing and distribution network currently in place for the import and distribution of Flexi Narrow Aisle and Sellick Rough Terrain forklift equipment.

“We felt Hyundai was the right fit for our company as it’s already a well-known brand in Australia, both in the automotive and heavy construction industries,” says Ritchie.

The company is considering holding an open day to introduce the brand to the market. “We will be displaying a 2.5 ton forklift at the upcoming Australian Construction Equipment Expo … at Sandown Racecourse, Melbourne.

“We’re also thinking of exhibiting at an upcoming materials handling show,” says Ritchie.

Hyundai’s vast range of materials handling equipment ranges from 1.5 ton to 16 ton equipment, with more than 70 forklift models currently being manufactured.
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More straddle carriers for Brisbane
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Patrick Terminals has ordered four new straddle carriers from Kalmar for the Fisherman Islands terminal in Brisbane.

This brings the total number of Kalmar fully automated straddle carriers at the terminal to 27. The latest order of four units will be deployed by Patrick at its operations at quay 8 to quay 10 in the port of Brisbane before September 2009.

Kalmar is providing maintenance for Patrick’s automated straddle carrier fleet, starting from the date when the operation was still in a testing phase.

The straddle carriers are electrically driven, with AC drives to meet the strictest environmental standards. The units on order for Brisbane are fitted with winch rope hoist systems and motion control and navigation systems which allow them to operate unmanned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

According to Ilkka Annala of Kalmar, the equipment has been recorded to complete some 32,000 lifts every month. “These automated twinlift straddle carriers can stack containers up to three high and have a lifting capacity of up to 50 tonnes and a maximum speed of 30 km/hour.”
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Melbourne port strengthens NSW presence
Griffith, New South Wales, Australia
Port of Melbourne has opened a dedicated office in Griffith to facilitate trade in southern New South Wales.

Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) chief executive officer Stephen Bradford says the port is the key trade hub for south-eastern Australia - not just Melbourne.

"The farming and agricultural region of southern New South Wales is a growing trade market, so it is entirely appropriate that we recognise its importance by having a dedicated representative on the ground.

"It makes business sense to get a better understanding of our customers’ needs and forge relationships which can benefit exporters and cargo owners in the Griffith area.

"Melbourne is a world-class port which is underpinned by ongoing capital investment by PoMC. Last financial year, we invested over AUD140,000 a day on average in port infrastructure.

"As a result, we offer a wide variety of facilities and services and we have already identified a number of strategic initiatives to facilitate trade growth for the region. "

PoMC's Griffith office will replace the former office which was in Wagga Wagga.
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Credit crisis impacts cashflow pressures
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Australian firms are taking longer to pay their bills, according to a quarterly trade payments analysis by Dun & Bradstreet.

Businesses averaged 56.5 days to settle accounts in the December 2008 quarter, the highest level recorded since 2001 and an increase of four days over a 12-month period.

According to Christine Christian, D&B's CEO, the deterioration in payment terms that occurred during 2008 reflects the slowdown in the local economy and the challenges that Australian firms were facing as a result of the global economic correction.

"Business payment terms have been on a continual trend upwards since the September quarter of 2007 - the time that the credit crisis began to unfold,” says Christian.

"One of the first impacts of the crisis was a tightening of credit. As a consequence, we began to see business cashflow impacted as borrowing was no longer an easy option to cover shortfalls.

"As the crisis deepened and its impacts spread, businesses had both global and local issues to contend with. This situation heightened the impact of lagging trade payments and accordingly the rise in debtor days has continued."

Big businesses employing 500+ staff have been the slowest to pay for more than nine consecutive quarters. An increase of 2.2 days on the September 2008 quarter and 4.3 days on the December 2007 quarter saw big businesses averaging more than double the standard term (61.5 days) to settle accounts in the December 2008 quarter.

Meanwhile, firms with six to 19 employees have maintained the quickest paying spot (53.7 days) despite a one-day increase in terms since the previous quarter and a 3.4 day increase since the same time last year.  
  
"Despite the significant impact that trade payment days have on business cashflow, they have not traditionally been seen as an important indicator of the financial health of the economy," says Christian.

However, she warns that a sharp rise in terms or a continual increase as seen throughout 2008 should be viewed as an early indicator of trouble.

“It could lead to an increase in bad debts or be the trigger that pushes a business into negative financial territory. Executives should use this information to keep a check on the financial health of their customers and guard against potential cashflow issues."

"For Australian firms that trade internationally, paying attention to your customers' behaviours is particularly important. Being alert to early warning signs, such as a slowdown in payments, allows you to act quickly to protect your business from cashflow troubles and bad debts."
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No injuries in crane tipover incident
Brighton, Victoria, Australia
No-one was hurt in a tipover incident this week when a massive crane was lifted off the ground by its load in Brighton, Victoria.

The crane was lowering roofing steel onto the top of a retail outlet on the Nepean Highway when it tipped. Soft ground, overloading and over-extension of the lifting boom are common causes of crane tipovers.

All of the truck’s wheels were lifted several metres off the ground. The lifting boom crashed onto the side of the building, leaving the vehicle suspended in mid-air. (see http://bayside-leader.whereilive.com.au/photos/gallery/crane-crash-in-brighton/)

Four cranes were used to lower the crane safely to the ground.

Worksafe says inappropriately loaded or used cranes are involved in a number of serious incidents each year.

In October last year, a crane driver was crushed and killed at Northcote when the truck tipped sidewards as he unloaded steel from a truck at a building site
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MEDIA RELEASES
Strong demand for Booths at “BFE 2009”
As the most influential and professional exhibition in the forklift industry, the 5th Guangzhou International Brand Forklift & Accessories Exhibition 2009 (BFE 2009) is receiving strong support from the major industry brands.

Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
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PRODUCT WATCH
Lightweight Forklift Truck Cylinders from Ragasco
The composite LPG cylinders for Forklift Trucks (FLT) from Ragasco are available in two sizes: 10 kg (22 lbs) and 14 kg (31 lbs). The low weight combined with an ergonomic design makes the cylinder very easy to lift and handle. They are also stackable. The all-composite cylinder is corrosion-free and has a clean inner liner surface assuring no contamination to the engine.

Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.
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RAVAS introduces iForks, the new generation scale forks for forklift trucks
RAVAS, The Mobile Scale Company, introduces iForks, the first completely wireless scale forks for forklift trucks, reach trucks and narrow aisle trucks. Since all components are fully integrated in the forks, the iForks have no external cabling whatsoever and the weighing system can be installed onto any forklift truck in a matter of minutes: plug & weigh! From that moment on, every load lifted by the truck is instantly and accurately weighed.

Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.
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INDUSTRY PROFILES
Historic company leads RFID thrust
Melbourne, Australia
One of Australia’s oldest businesses is leading the charge with the newest warehouse technology as RFID (radio frequency identification) gains traction.

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Upcoming Events

1. Logistics Link South
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3-4 February 2009

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Wednesday, 4th March 2009

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2. Regional/Territory Manager - Full time
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Editorial Calendar 2008

Editorial Calendar 2009

January
Rough Terrain forklifts
February
Safety products in MH
March
Forklift Market in Canada
April
Tow trucks
May
Forklift Market in the United Kingdom
June
Fleet & Asset management
July
Narrow Aisle forklifts
August
Industrial tyres/wheels
September
Forklift batteries and power solutions
October
Side loaders
November
Explosion-proof forklifts
December
Forklift Market in India

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