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|It could be the lull before the storm. Things seem particularly quiet in the industry at the moment, with even the attention-hungry “big boys” noticeably subdued. It could be that some are keeping their heads down in anticipation of the US financial reporting season, that others may still be in recovery mode and don’t want to rock the boat – or that they’re relieved to have survived the crisis and are happy to just be in business. The good news is that there’s not much bad news around – and it looks like we’re in “steady-as-she-goes” mode. Let’s hope there are no surprises ahead…|
|Shin-Kobe targets Japanese forklift makers in China |
|Japanese automotive battery maker Shin-Kobe Electrical Machinery Co wants to produce lead batteries for electric forklifts in China this year.|
According to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the company will produce 5,000 to 10,000 batteries annually through a subsidiary in Dongguan in Guangdong province. All of Shin-Kobe’s batteries are currently made in Nabari, Mie prefecture in Japan.
The Japanese paper reports that the growing use of electric forklifts in China is prompting Shin-Kobe to launch local production.
The expansion of the Dongguan plant to increase its output of automotive batteries and the inclusion of a forklift battery line is expected to cost between JPY1 billion and JPY2 billion (USD10.7 million and USD21.4 million).
Shin-Kobe currently sells JPY4 billion - JPY5 billion (USD42.9 million – USD53.6 billion) of forklift batteries a year, Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports. Its Dongguan plant is targeting Japanese forklift manufacturers based in China.
Kenichiro Takase, senior manager of Japan Industrial Vehicle Association, who is currently attending the Industrial Truck Association Spring Meeting in Washington DC, US, tells Forkliftaction.com News that Komatsu, TCM, Toyota, Nichiyu and Mitsubishi all have plants in China.
“Except for Nichiyu, they are mainly producing internal combustion trucks in their Chinese plants,” he says.
Takase adds that he does not know the marketshare of Japanese forklift manufacturers in China but “guesses [that] their share is not high compared with their presence in other markets”.
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|JCB veterans will be sadly missed |
Rocester, United Kingdom
|Two men who have contributed significantly to JCB’s success with their years of service will be missed by their former colleagues and industry associates.|
Roger Bree, one of the “pioneers” of the equipment company, has retired from his role as manufacturing manager of JCB’s Loadall Division after almost 47 years of service while JCB’s second-ever group CEO, Martin Coyne, has died at age 69.
Bree joined JCB at Rocester as a 16-year-old in 1963 and has seen it grow into one of the world’s top three construction equipment makers, today employing about 7,000 people on four continents.
Alan Blake, JCB’s CEO, hailed him and his peers.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to people like Roger and his generation who have really helped build up JCB into the company it is today. Employees from his era were the pioneers of JCB.”
Bree says his career grew thanks to JCB’s training opportunities that allowed him to enter management 30 years ago. When he started, JCB manufactured only backhoe loaders and small dumper trucks. Bree started at the JCB machine shop where he learned manufacturing skills like welding. He remembers working closely with JCB founder Joseph Cyril Bamford and has memories of enjoying fish and chips and ice cream bought by “Mr JCB” for his employees who worked late to meet deadlines.
“I can honestly say I have enjoyed every moment of my time with JCB. There was never a morning when I didn’t want to get up and go to work,” Bree says, adding that in retirement, he will spend time gardening, playing field sport and with his 12-year-old granddaughter Megan.
Coyne, became JCB’s second CEO when he was promoted to the position in 1992. His career with the company started when he left Ford to become JCB’s purchasing director in 1975.
Six years later, he became managing director of JCB Service and in 1989, the managing director of JCB Hydrapower in Rugeley, leading the business that took JCB into the mini excavator market.
He has held the position of managing director at JCB-SCM in Uttoxeter, JCB’s former joint-venture excavator manufacturing business. He retired from his role as group CEO in 1997.
JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said Coyne, who died on 6 April at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, made an enormous contribution to JCB’s success and will be sadly missed. He leaves behind his wife Maureen and children Charles and Sarah.
|PSA not optimistic about the future|
|Port operator PSA International is not optimistic about a swift recovery in the global market after reporting a double-digit drop in group revenue and decreased container throughput volumes for its terminals.|
“2009 will be remembered as one of the world’s most difficult years with the near meltdown of the financial markets … Like everyone else, PSA was adversely affected,” says group chairman Fock Siew Wah.
The group saw its first-ever decline in containers handled across its 28 ports worldwide. It registered a 9.9% drop in throughput in 2009 to 56.9 million TEUs. PSA’s flagship terminal in Singapore recorded a 13.1% fall in container throughput for 2009, handling 25.1 million TEUs. However, it maintained its position as the world’s busiest container port for the fifth consecutive year. Terminals outside Singapore had a total throughput of 31.8 million TEUs, 7.1% lower than in 2008. The slide was softened by markets like China which largely shrugged off the impact of the global crisis and by the contribution from new port start-ups in India and Vietnam.
“The last two months of 2009 and the first two months of 2010 showed tentative signs of recovery but the road ahead will be bumpy and uncertain,” warns Eddie Teh, group CEO of PSA International.
Teh fears that “a macro-economic storm will be inevitable to clear the excess global production capacity that was created”.
PSA’s 2009 group revenue dropped 12.7% from the previous year’s SGD4.392 billion (USD3.187 billion) to SGD3.835 billion (USD2.782 billion), while net profit suffered a relatively smaller decline of 6.1% for the same period from SGD1.039 billion (USD754 million) to SGD976 million (USD708 million) due to cost-cutting measures and control of capital expenditure.
PSA International is a leading global port group, participating in 28 port projects in 16 countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. It has a global capacity of 111 million TEUs over 66km of quay length.
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|Opening nears for NA 2010 |
Cleveland, OH, United States
|Preparations are nearing completion for the 2010 North American Material Handling and Logistics Show (NA 2010) taking place from 26-29 April in the I-X Center in Cleveland.|
NA 2010 will be the largest materials handling and logistics show in North America this year and will provide opportunities to hear leading industry experts during a variety of educational conferences and events.
The international trade association Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) of Charlotte, North Carolina organises NA 2010 events. In an annual session for the news media, the MHIA management team will focus on the state of the materials handling and logistics industry, the economy and other trends shaping the industry, the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), major 2010-2011 industry initiatives and plans for ProMat 2011.
MHIA’s mission is to advance the interests of the industry, including the movement, storage, control and protection of materials and products throughout the process of their manufacture, distribution, consumption and disposal.
NA 2010 attendees will have opportunities for an educational experience in the on-floor knowledge centre, a series of keynote seminars and a supply chain summit and reception. Occurring for the first time, the supply chain event brings together distinct views of the supply chain from industry, the military, universities and government.
|Techking enters forklift tyre market |
|Off-the-road (OTR) tyre manufacturer Techking Tires Ltd is launching its first forklift tyre line, which it claims is more durable than other bias-structure tyres on the market.|
Marketing manager Ben Zhang tells Forkliftaction.com News that the 4KLIFT tyre line for the Chinese and overseas markets has an “innovative design”, making it 30-70% more durable than some of its competitors..
“There are two different structures for OTR tyres – radial and bias structures. Radial structure has more advantages than bias structure. It is more energy-saving, durable and is (puncture-resistant),” Zhang explains.
“[But] we designed the 4KLIFT [bias] tyres with a reinforced steel breaker inside. This innovative design is able to improve the tyre’s performance, making it up to 70% more durable than the regular bias structure,” he adds.
Techking, established in 2005 with only three employees, holds 40 patents for its tyres, including patents in Europe. It decided to launch a forklift tyre line this year as part of its venture into the industrial tyre market.
“We (have) already got port tyres with successful field performance. [We have the technology and innovation] to expand our products for forklift service,” Zhang says.
When asked to give his thoughts on Chinese tyre manufacturers, Richard Blacker, regional sales and marketing manager of Sydney, Australia-based Bearcat Tyres Pty Ltd, says his company had been testing Techking’s Duratough-branded tyres for about 12 months on large container-handling forklifts “with fantastic results”.
“These tyres are a steel radial constructed industrial tyre and, to date, the tyre performance is almost equal to the top branded European tyre manufacturers,” Blacker says.
He thinks Techking’s new forklift tyres will perform well as the Chinese manufacturer has “high expectations with their tyres”.
Techking plans to produce 30,000 4KLIFT forklift tyres in its first year. The company has grown rapidly over the past five years. In 2008, Techking sold USD70 million of tyres compared to USD0.5 million in 2005. It employs 120 staff, with some based in Europe, West Africa, India and the US. It says it supplies 90% of Norwegian dump truck maker Moxy’s tyres and its OEM customers include Komatsu India, Atlas Copco in Scandinavia and Bell Equipment in South Africa. Techking opened its first Chinese service centre in October 2009 and expects to open another 10 overseas this year.
|Yale and Hyster launch new stand-up trucks|
Greenville, NC, United States
Yale Material Handling Corp has launched the ESC030-040AC series of electric stand-up forklifts.
The forklifts feature “precision load positioning” that allows operators to control the truck’s position while working on an incline like on a dock or in a trailer.
“The dependability it provides is a great match for dock and drive-in or drive-through rack applications,” says Lou Micheletto, warehouse products manager.
The three-wheel forklifts with lifting capacities of 3,000-4,000lbs (1,361-1,814kg) are targeted at the retail distribution, food production and processing, general warehousing and freight transportation industries.
Hyster Company, also a part of Nacco Material Handling Group, has introduced the E30-40HSD2 electric stand-up forklift series with 3,000-4,000lbs (1,361-1,814kg) lifting capacities. The forklifts’ ergonomics include suspended floorplates with anti-fatigue mats that absorb vibration and shock.
Forklift drivers needed at BMW
Greenville, NC, United States
Staffing agency MAU is accepting applications for 200 temporary production and logistics positions at BMW Manufacturing Co’s Greer facility.
MAU spokesman says starting pay rates are USD13 an hour and a USD1 shift deferential is added for night work. Those applying for forklift operator positions need at least a year’s experience, preferably in the manufacturing sector.
Job seekers can go to the Applicants section of www.mau.com and type the keyword “BMW” to apply. BMW is adding two production shifts at the plant to meet customer demand.
Manitex nets USD8M in new orders
Bridgeview, IL, United States
Manitex International has received USD8 million in orders for shipment in the second and third quarters of 2010.
About USD5 million worth of Manitex boom truck cranes and USD3 million of specialised military forklifts have been ordered.
Scott Rolston, senior VP for sales and marketing, says Manitex’s dealer in UAE, Darwish Bin Ahmen & Sons, has placed orders for a variety of cranes to support strong customer demand for Manitex products in the region.
“[Meanwhile] in the independent rental fleet sector, we received orders from one of our larger dealers to meet improving end user demand,” Rolston says.
Wisconsin Lift Trucks wins triple honours
Brookfield, WI, United States
Wisconsin Lift Truck Group has won three awards from Steel King Industries Inc for 2009 sales performance.
The forklift distributor had increased its sales volumes of Steel King product lines to be named Most Valuable Distributor of 2009. The company also met criteria for relative marketshare, number of different products sold, invoice payment history, product photographs, sales lead response and response to market surveys.
Wisconsin Lift Truck also won the Top 10 Distributor and Million Dollar Distributor awards. It has distributed Steel King products for over 17 years. Steel King of Stevens Point, Wisconsin supplies steel storage rack systems.
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|Decal underscores rough-terrain safety |
Milwaukee, WI, United States
|An Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) council has developed a rough-terrain forklift decal that indicates only certified employees may operate the machine.|
The decal says Employer-Certified Operators ONLY and carries the approval of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
AEM’s rough-terrain forklift council carried the project forward within an AEM/OSHA alliance promoting jobsite safety. The artwork is available at no charge through the AEM store
The Milwaukee-based international trade group for the off-road equipment manufacturing industry has more than 800 member companies that collectively handle in excess of 200 product lines.
“AEM and its member manufacturers are committed to fostering safe equipment operation and we have worked closely with OSHA for many years towards this end,” says Dennis Slater, AEM president. “This alliance (established with OSHA in October 2007) is an example of our industry’s pro-active education and training efforts.”
The alliance targets rough-terrain forklifts including telehandlers and straight-mast forklifts and focuses on potential operating hazards such as ground conditions, machine mobility, overloading and use in lifting personnel.
AEM says the machines were chosen because they are found on nearly all types of construction worksites and because owners and operators do not always follow OSHA training requirements for the machines.
|Students operate Pro-Lift’s Doosan|
Welland, ON, United States
|Pro-Lift Machinery of Thorold, Ontario this week provided instruction and a Doosan G30E forklift for training of 15 high school students at a Welland school.|
The students from three schools spent the morning in a classroom and the afternoon in the parking lot under a program funded by the District School Board of Niagara in St Catherines, Ontario and supported by Pro-Lift.
They learned about industrial forklift pre-shift inspection and operation and the handling and maintenance of propane cylinders and had individual opportunities to drive the Doosan model, which has a low-emission engine burning liquefied petroleum gas and capability to lift 6,000 pounds (2,700 kg).
Mike Ferrelli of Pro-Lift provided the instruction to the students from Eastdale, Port Colborne and South Lincoln high schools and made them aware of certification requirements for operators under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The program aimed to give students another potential avenue for summer employment.
|Technology connects stakeholders to port supply chain |
Auckland, New Zealand
|Ports of Auckland has combined its suite of information and cargo management systems into one online product on a single platform, named InterACT.|
The system allows registered users to connect with the port’s container management systems, displaying in real time all categories of operations, including 'live' alerts on container status changes and updates.
It also enables users to order the full range of ancillary services for containers at the port such as washing, weighing, x-rays and inter-wharf shuttle transfers.
|Homer on forklift delivers safety message |
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|A range of workplace safety posters featuring characters from the television series, The Simpsons, will be on display at the Safety in Action show in Melbourne next week.|
The safety posters are part of the Safety Awareness, Focus and Education (SAFE) program designed to reduce workplace injuries by creating “inescapable messaging” where all components are wrapped around one single safety issue each month.
Australian distributor Trudy Schipelliti of Work Safety Solutions says the program has been tested throughout the world and has proven to be a successful method of workplace safety education.
The high-impact posters have instantly recognisable characters that break through cultural and language barriers, and strong graphics for the most at-risk safety demographic - young inexperienced employees.
|Keep the focus on freight transport |
Canberra, ACT, Australia
|The chief executive officer of the Australian Logistics Council, Michael Kilgariff, has expressed concern that this year’s focus as The Year of Freight Transport (TYOFT) may be lost as government deals with other issues.|
In the organisation’s April report, Kilgariff says there are a number of initiatives that could be undertaken now by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and transport ministers of the Australian Transport Council (ATC) to ensure ongoing regulatory reform of the Australian transport and logistics industry.
• Release of the Henry Review into Taxation, which recommends reforms to road funding and transport taxes, including a reference to ‘mass distance location’ pricing.
• Development of the national heavy vehicle regulatory framework and agreement on issues such as vehicle regulation, safe load regulation, driver licensing and road taxes.
• National consistency of Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws.
• Development of a national, holistic regulatory framework across all modes and nodes of freight transport, all state boundaries and all areas of regulation.
• COAG should agree that state, territory and local governments make land-use decisions that advance the freight effort over other possible land uses.
• Develop processes to improve the transfer of information along the transport and logistics supply chain.
“Progressing these initiatives would ensure 2010 will be remembered as The Year of Freight Transport,” he concludes.
|Massive cranes arrive in WA |
Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
|Four post-Panamax container cranes arrived in Fremantle Port recently, one of which is worth around $12.5 million and will be used by DP World in its container terminal at North Quay. |
The other three cranes will be used by DP World at its terminals in Adelaide and Sydney.
“Post-Panamax” refers to cranes that service ships that are too big to fit through the Panama Canal.
According to Fremantle Ports’ chief executive officer Chris Leatt-Hayter, the average size of container ships calling at Fremantle Port has increased by about 85% over the past 15 years.
He says Fremantle Ports’ Inner Harbour deepening and berth works project is being undertaken to accommodate the bigger ships at full cargo-carrying capacity.
“This project is vital for the efficiency of the Inner Harbour operations and for the Western Australian economy.”
“As well as requiring increased channel and harbour depth, the bigger ships impose heavier loads on wharf infrastructure,” he says.
Reconstruction of the 52-year-old Berth 10 on North Quay to enable it to handle container shipping is expected to be completed next month.
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|HOT STUFF! Proventia’s Electrically Regenerated Filter for Controlling Forklift Emissions|
|Proventia, an international emission control company, has complemented its electrically regenerated product family with CHILITM filters. CHILITM filter cleans the emissions from engines smaller than 130 kW. What makes CHILITM so convenient for use in forklifts is the compact size and particularly the self-maintaining capability. Low load applications such as forklifts have quite low exhaust temperatures, which precludes the use of passive filters. CHILITM s operation is based on active regeneration by electricity, which means that regeneration is independent of vehicle duty cycle and the temperature. In CHILITM filters, the filter temperature is raised electrically to the optimal level for regeneration.|
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|Ecomatic Press-on and Resilients Tires |
|Solideal USA announces ECOMATIC, a new eco-friendly budget line. The new line is manufactured utilizing European Technology and has proven to provide long wear in general use operations.|
Solideal’s Ecomatic e-smooth and e-traction press-on line is manufactured with a universal rubber compound and recycled steel base bands. The press-on lineup includes all the most common sizes and a lower price solution for press-on forklift applications.
Solideal’s Ecomatic ETR resilient line is manufactured with a universal rubber compound and reclaimed cores from worn 3-stage resilient tires. The resilient lineup includes all the most common sizes and a lower price solution for resilient forklift applications.
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