Some optimism after a tough year

Local News
- 8 Jan 2009 ( #392 ) - International
26 min read
Maximal is the preferred supplier for the Chinese armed forces
Maximal is the preferred supplier for the Chinese armed forces
By Annette Densham

Despite the bleak outlook, some of the leading players in the materials handling industry have an optimistic outlook for 2009. The positive sentiments come amid forecasts of further economic slowdown and major job losses.

Signs of hard times ahead became apparent towards the end of 2008 when companies like UK forklift manufacturer JCB and US supplier Nacco Materials Handling cut their workforces, while other big names reported drops in sales and orders.

However, all was not doom and gloom throughout 2008: a range of new innovative products was launched, there was a growing interest in the use of hydrogen-powered forklifts, and the Asian market grew through ongoing investment and acquisitions.

Company highlights from 2008

Rory Harvey-Kelly, general manager of sales for Komatsu Forklift in Europe, says 2008 was characterised by product launches by his company as well as product improvements across all segments of the company's portfolio. "We extended the range of warehouse equipment, introduced new pallet trucks for seated and semi-seated operation and launched two new series, the CX50 and the DX50 series.

"A highlight of 2008 was to be recognised by the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) as winner in the innovation category. Our compact BX50 series won against six nominations from other manufacturers for the most innovative truck," he says. "In December, we learnt from FLTA that Komatsu's CX50 is a finalist for the 2009 award in the environment category."

Kalmar featured regularly throughout the year with new product launches and new orders.

In January, it launched a self-loading vehicle - one-over-one Kalmar Autoshuttle. It won an order from Martens Beton for 14 forklifts and an order for 22 E-One rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes from South African Transnet Ltd. In March, it received an order from the Port of Tacoma for seven CSC 350 straddle carriers and won a five-year contract at the new Sjursøya Container Terminal in the Port of Oslo.

In December, Kalmar won its largest ship-to-shore (STS) maintenance contract for equipment at the Port of Vuosaari. From April to December, Kalmar took orders for 150 straddle carriers, terminal tractors and RTG cranes.

Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction won a USD120 million contract in May to supply the Port of Singapore with 79 rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes, with the last order to be delivered in December 2009.

Chinese manufacturer Maximal Forklift also goes into 2009 bouyed by success in 2008 , which a spokeswoman describes as an excellent year for the company despite the challenge of price increases in February by iron ore suppliers. "The company displayed its latest products at the 103rd Canton Fair," she says. "We improved the three-wheel and four-wheel electric forklift and by the end of the first half year, Maximal had sold 1,022 units."

Maximal is now the preferred supplier for military equipment of the general logistics department of the Chinese armed forces.

JCB received an order for 2,000 Loadall telehandlers in May from plant hire company Fork Rent plc. It was the biggest single order in the company's history.

In September, JCB was awarded the Queen's Award in the International Trade category after increasing overseas sales by more than 36% between 2004 and 2006.

JLG Industries Inc shipped its 1,000th Millenia Military Vehicle (MMV) telehandler to the US Navy in July as part of a contract to provide 197 MMVs to the Naval Construction Battalion.

Carlo Fallarini, sales and marketing director of Bolzoni Auramo group, says that despite the economic crisis, 2008 was a reasonably good year for the group.

"In the second quarter, the CeMAT show was a great success and we were able to present new and innovative products that will be launched in the beginning of 2009," he says. "Throughout the year, the group had the chance to close important and multiple orders with worldwide well-known companies."

Fallarini says the group completed its main production facility in Piacenza, Italy, giving the company the opportunity to break into a new market and to win important contracts with companies such as KION, Jungheinrich and Nissan.

Intella, a wholly owned subsidiary of Van Gent Forklift parts, had a successful 2008 with over 10,000 new items added to its product range. Marcel VandenTop, general manager of Intella, says the company successfully launched its fork program, created a new e-commerce web shop and a new online PDF catalogue displaying over 600 pages of parts.

Acquisitions, Mergers and Expansions

In January, Haulotte Group sold its French rental businesses to Loxam Group for an undisclosed sum.

February saw TVH acquire Belgian equipment sales and rental company Saveco Maintenance Service (SMS) while Rocla opened a new office, Rocla Moscow, in St Petersburg.

TVH acquired Belgian company SMS
TVH acquired Belgian company SMS
In February, Kalmar established a new sales company in Mexico to support its dealer network and help develop the market.

Kalmar expanded its interest in South America with acquisition of Equipos y Servicios para Terminales y Puertos SRL (ESTP) in August and acquired 80% of CVS Technoports and CVS Service in November.

Linde Material Handling announced plans to invest EUR21 million (USD33.1 million) over three years in boosting the competitiveness of its heavy forklift business in the global marketplace. About EUR17 million (USD26.8 million) will be diverted to research and development .

In April, Barloworld Logistics, Barloworld's supply chain management subsidiary, acquired Dubai-based Swift Group and its overseas affiliates for USD70 million and acquired Hong Kong-based logistics company Flynt International for USD13 million.

Jungheinrich announced plans to open a new factory in Leipzig in 2009 as part of its strategy to increase its global manufacturing capacity to over 100,000 units a year. The new factory will produce low-level warehouse equipment.

Still in May, Veri-Tek International Corp, the manufacturer of rough-terrain forklifts, boom truck cranes and special mission-oriented vehicles, changed its name to Manitex International Inc.

JCB also featured heavily throughout the year with stories on its achievements and tough times. In January, JCB reported it had sold over 70,000 machines in 2007, 30% more than the previous year, and it had appointed 46 new dealers, bringing the total to 670 dealers and 1,500 service depots worldwide.

Acknowledging the coming pressure on the global economies, JCB was adamant it would go ahead with its overseas investments.

JCB employees felt the sting of the economic slowdown after the company announced plans to cut UK production by 19% and reduce its workforce after a decline in sales in October. The action would have resulted in the loss of 800 jobs from the 5,500-strong workforce. The company had already cut 379 jobs. Workers voted for a shorter working week to protect the jobs of their workmates. The vote saved about 500 jobs.

Despite workers voting for reduced working hours, JCB announced further redundancies and production cuts in November. However, in a positive move, the company announced plans to retrain and up-skill current workers in preparation for economic recovery.

Impact Handling bought British Nissan forklift dealer Apollo Plant in May. The Apollo business is expected to increase the company's annual turnover to around GBP50 million (USD98.7 million).

Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks dealer MSM/DRH Ltd received a funding package from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to help expand its business after a change in ownership.

In June, Rocla Oyj expanded its operations in Denmark with the acquisition of VB Trucks a/s.

Jungheinrich AG was set to expand its German business in 2009 with plans to open five forklift factories.

Toyota Industries Corp was named the top forklift supplier in Modern Materials Handling's annual top 20 ranking list in August for the sixth year in a row. The KION Group maintained its number two position.

The World Industrial Truck Statistics showed Europe as the largest market, with orders growing by 16% in 2007 to 400,000 while Asia grew by 17% to 280,000. Analysts expect many of the Chinese and Indian forklift suppliers to be in the top 20 in 2009.

In August, Mecano Continental introduced a compact hydrostatic rough-terrain forklift and announced it will establish a new base in Germany.

DAC Handling Solutions Ltd, Britain's largest independent distributor for the Still forklift product range, went into administration on July 18. Still Materials Handling, DAC's largest creditor, acquired its assets for an undisclosed sum.

Konecranes purchased Aarhus Maskinfabrik A/S in August from Hydraulico Holding A/S for an undisclosed sum in a move designed to strengthen its position in the Danish market.

September was a busy month for takeovers and new partnerships with Manitou Group subsidiary Tenedor Corp launching a friendly tender offer to acquire the remainder of outstanding shares of Gehl Co.

Meanwhile, Forkway Group joined forces with Yale Europe in the UK to increase sales and CVS Ferrari signed an agreement with Manitou to distribute its container handling equipment in South Africa.

Still in August, Indian heavy equipment manufacturer TIL Ltd partnered with Hyster to exclusively market and distribute products to India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Doosan Infracore acquired German warehouse equipment manufacturer Advanced Technology Lubben (ATL) for EUR2.5 million (USD3.67 million). The move was part of Doosan's bid to move into the European large-size warehouse market.

Hoist Liftruck added five new UK dealerships in October. The company said the partnerships provide the key to opening new sales opportunities to the region's ports.

Hoist Liftruck's heavy-duty pneumatic forklift
Hoist Liftruck's heavy-duty pneumatic forklift
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) subsidiary Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift Europe (MCFE) announced plans to take a controlling interest in Rocla. MCFE already owns 28.1% of the Finnish company.

Financial Results

Many of the leading players started 2008 with strong figures but by the end of the year, some were starting to show cracks in their results because of reduced sales and orders and the credit squeeze.

Financial reports from Terex Corp, Oshkosh Corp and Nacco Industries in August indicated a range of ongoing profit and sales pressures.

Terex announced it would cut aerial work platform (AWP) production to get its inventories in better alignment with market demand. For its JLG business, Oshkosh reported softness in the United States market and stronger demand in Europe for the third quarter ended June 30.

Nacco Material Handling Group Inc's (NMHG) wholesale business was USD3.2 million for the second quarter ended June 30, down a third from the same time in 2007 to USD10.4 million.

Singapore companies Tat Hong reported a 69% increase in net profit for the first quarter due to an increase in crane rentals and Tiong Woon reported an increase of 58% in sales revenue for the 12 months to June 30 2008, with the strongest growth coming from Singapore.

Manitou reported an 8.1% increase in net sales to EUR725 million (USD1.05 billion) for the first half of 2008 despite a 70% fall in sales in Spain.

The KION Group continued to grow during the first half of 2008, despite spiralling raw materials and transportation costs. The company's revenue increased 9.3% from EUR2.07 billion (USD2.9 billion) in 2007 to EUR2.26 billion (USD3.19 billion) for the same period in 2008.

Attachments manufacturer Cascade Corp and equipment maker Terex reported lower sales volumes in North America and Europe and higher material costs during the second fiscal quarter ended July 31.

New products

Still GmbH launched its new FM-X reach truck series in January to replace the FM-I Series.

In February, Kaup launched the T143S-T146S, T143SA and T145SA push-pull attachments; Yale produced a low-noise pallet truck; OM introduced the XE 13-20ac range of three- and four-wheel electric forklifts with load capacities from 1.3 to 2 tonnes; and Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks introduced a "do-it-all" sit-on stacker, the SBS15-20N series.

JCB launched two new low-boom Loadall telehandlers and Still GmbH introduced the CX-T series three-wheel tow tractor. Rocla Oyj introduced the first generation of its automated warehouse trucks in February.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe (HHIE) launched six new "Dash 7" forklift models in March.

Linde Material Handling updated its entire 1.4 tonne to 18 tonne internal combustion forklift range with the introduction of the 5- to 8-tonne H50-H80 models.

TCM Japan introduced the FB35-7 3.5 tonne (7,716lb) electric counterbalanced forklift to meet demand for environmentally friendly higher load capacity forklifts and Hyster Company introduced the Hyster Yardmaster II reach stacker series.

Sky-Trax Inc introduced Sky-Box, an on-board mobile network for forklifts, automated guided vehicles and other industrial vehicles and Yale Europe introduced a new heavy-duty mast for the MR 16-20 reach truck.

In May, Watts Urethane Products launched a new tyre compound with a shorter cure time, making it more environmentally friendly.

Toyota Material Handling Europe introduced the BT Lexio pedestrian pallet truck and the BT Staxio pedestrian stacker.

Still introduced the EXV series of high-lift tiller stackers with load capacities of 1.0-tonne and 1.2 tonnes but had to put production of the RX70 series hybrid diesel forklift on hold pending lower super-capacitor prices.

Still's RX 70 Pure Hybrid
Still's RX 70 Pure Hybrid
June saw Irish company Combilift launch its latest product, the Combilift Container Lifter, and Aisle-Master launch its AC-powered articulated forklifts.

Hyundai introduced a new range of battery-powered forklifts at CeMAT 2008.

Kalmar Industries introduced what it claimed was the world's first straddle carrier with a hybrid drive.

Komatsu Forklift Europe introduced the diesel and LPG engine CX50 forklift series with 3.5-5 tonne load capacities to the European market and updated its 1.05-1.2 tonne MWS series electric pallet stackers with three-phase AC technology.

Hyster Europe unveiled its new K1.0M and K1.0H high-level order pickers that can lift up to 8 metres with one-tonne capacity.

Stanley Handling launched a new ROBUR reach truck designed to fit into tight spaces in August.

Yale Europe announced the release of a new pedestrian controlled rider/stacker, MC10-15, that can be used without a forklift licence.

Watts Tyre Group launched the Premia POB that is suitable for articulated forklift applications.

Genie added to its line-up of telehandlers with the release of the GTH-4017 SX and Kato launched a new rough-terrain crane for the Japanese market.

Combilift Ireland celebrated its 10th anniversary in September by launching a new forklift - the Combi-CB.

Sky-Trax demonstrated its new Indoor Position Sensing (IPS) that is capable of tracking mobile equipment and inventory in any building with pinpoint accuracy.

Toyota Material Handling Equipment rounded off the year by launching its Toyota Traigo 48 electric counterbalanced forklift and BT Reflex reach trucks.

In December, a German winery was the first to purchase Still's new energy-saving device called Blue-Q. Blue-Q is activated by pressing the blue button on the control panel and reduces energy consumption by up to 20%.

Both Still's RX 70 Pure Hybrid and Blue-Q Energy Optimisation are finalists in the 2009 FLTA Awards for Excellence.

Asian market

The year started with a Chinese manufacturer Baoli's debut at 31 on dhf-intralogistik's annual world ranking list of powered industrial truck manufacturers.

Despite the Chinese forklift industry being impacted by snowstorms in late January and early February, the industry in the region looked set to grow in 2009 as more interest builds in more affordable materials handling equipment.

Materials handling equipment industry growing in China
Materials handling equipment industry growing in China
Baoli featured again in News in November after informal reports global manufacturer KION was looking to expand its presence in the low-price segments in Asia through a 50% purchase of the forklift manufacturer.

KION told News it was looking at potential partners in Asia and China but would not elaborate on "future potential strategies". German website reported that Germany's competition authority had been notified of Kion's intentions to take a majority stake in Baoli.

In February, dhf-intralogistik's editor Wolfgang Degenhard said future ranking lists would feature mainly Asian companies because of the strong economic growth in the area.

Toyota Industries Corp (TICO) announced it wanted to sell 12,000 forklifts in China by 2010 and in February announced plans to expand forklift production at its plant in Kunshan to meet its target. TICO will invest about JPY2 billion (USD18.7 million) to boost the Chinese plant's annual output from 2,000 to 5,000 units.

Equipment manufacturer Terex Corporation announced in May its aerial work platform subsidiary Genie Industries had selected a new manufacturing site in China. The company broke ground for its new site in September. Tim Ford, Terex Aerial Work Platforms president, explained, "The Asia market in general and the China market specifically is learning about the importance of the lift product category."

Komatsu Utility Co Ltd will invest JPY3.2 billion (USD30.7 million) to restructure its Japanese operations in a bid to boost production and operational efficiency.

TCM opened a new electric forklift assembly line at its Shiga plant in March to meet increasing demand for its forklift products. TCM's forklift sales grew 108% from EUR253 million (USD389 million) in 2002/03 to EUR526 million (USD808 million) in 2006/07.

Doosan Infracore started work in May on its new forklift and compact excavator production plant in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. The plant will create 1,000 new jobs in the area. Managing director Byunghoo Kang told News China's rapid growth and logistics industry demand had increased forklift demand by about 30% annually.

Nissan Motor Co Ltd and NEC Corp's joint venture company, Automotive Energy Supply Corp (AESC), will start producing batteries for forklifts and cars at Nissan's Zama facility in Kanagawa prefecture in 2009.

In June, Nippon Yusoki Co Ltd (Nichiyu) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd revealed plans to consolidate domestic marketing activities by starting a new company in April 2009 to sell and service forklifts for both manufacturers.

GS Yuasa Corp. announced plans in July to produce batteries for forklifts in Chachoengsao Province, east of Bangkok, in a joint venture with local carmaker Siam Motors Co.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd will manufacture forklifts, excavators, wheel-loaders, mini/midi excavators and skid-steer loaders at a new plant in Ulsan, South Korea due to commence operation in October 2010.

August saw the release of the 'China General Equipment Industry Report, 2008' from Research and Market saying China's investment in the general equipment industry had increased by 49.4% in 2007. It said China's total investment in the industry reached CNY23.41 billion (USD3.4 billion).

Terex announced plans in August to purchase Italian port equipment manufacturer Fantuzzi. Terex was given the go-ahead by the European Commission (EC) to finalise its acquisition of the company in November but the sale may not proceed after Terex announced concerns about a "material adverse change".

WorldCargo News released its 15th annual survey showing orders for ship-to-shore container cranes had increased for the third year in a row. Chinese supplier ZPMC accounted for 77% of orders for 2008.

Other companies showing growth throughout 2008 were Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction with 15 units ordered, 13 orders coming from PSA Singapore, and Fantuzzi with nine orders.

In November, Oshkosh Corporation broke ground at its new Chinese manufacturing facility in Tianjin.

Konecranes revealed plans in December to expand its Asian operations with the purchase of Chinese hoist and crane company, Jiangsu Three Horses Crane Manufacture Co Ltd (SANMA).

In the same month, Sumitomo Nacco Materials Handling Vietnam Co Ltd started work on a new plant in Vietnam to produce forklift transmissions and axle components for export.

Hydrogen fuel cells and alternative power sources

There was increasing focus and research into alternative fuel sources with a number of US companies receiving grants to facilitate the process.

In February, Raymond Corp unveiled early findings from its two-year research program on hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts, developed with funding from the New York Energy Research and Development Authority.

The findings show that compared to battery-powered forklifts, hydrogen fuel cell forklifts maintain comparable performance and the braking distance, maximum travel and lift speeds of the forklift are equivalent to that of an electric forklift.

Crown Equipment Corp was awarded about USD1 million in April from the state of Ohio to conduct fuel cell research. The research will focus on addressing the technical and commercial barriers to the application of available battery replacement fuel cell power packs in forklifts.

Raymond Corp signed a joint development agreement with Ballard Power Systems in May to develop a forklift prototype powered by the next generation of Ballard's Mark9 SSL fuel cell product.

Also in May, Linde launched 700-bar fast-fill technology in North America. The technology makes it faster and easier to fill up vehicles with hydrogen.

Linde unveiled its world-first direct-injection hydrogen combustion engine for forklifts, a new hybrid truck and a fuel cell-powered tow tractor at CeMAT 2008 in Hannover, Germany. The concept forklift with a direct-injection hydrogen combustion engine can reach its maximum power rating using hydrogen. There are no emissions as the hydrogen-powered engine turns the fuel into water vapour.

Linde unveiled the world's first direct-injection hydrogen combustion engine for forklifts at CeMAT 2008
Linde unveiled the world's first direct-injection hydrogen combustion engine for forklifts at CeMAT 2008
CeMAT 2008 saw a range of machines unveiled that use Li-Ion battery cells and machines that run on alternative fuels such as hydrogen. Toyota demonstrated its Hybrid Concept Forklift that uses the same technology as its hybrid car, the Prius.

On the 13-day Hydrogen Road Tour, people were able to check out the GenDrive fuel cell units from Plug Power Inc. The GenDrive fuel cells replace lead-acid batteries. Nine automotive manufacturers, the US departments of energy and transportation, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association sponsored the tour to demonstrate how hydrogen vehicle and fuelling technologies are nearing commercialisation.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) funded the study 'Hydrogen Fuel Cell Analysis: Lessons Learned from Stationary Power Generation' at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. The study will look at ways to use hydrogen to energise forklifts, back-up power generators, military equipment and consumer products such as cellular telephones.

In the courts

Former Clark Material Handling Co executive, Robert E Quinn was given a second chance when Judge John D Bates ordered a new trial. The judge decided the prosecution improperly withheld critical information "unfairly prejudicing Quinn in the presentation of his defence".

Quinn was convicted in December 2005 of conspiracy and five counts of violating the US trade embargo with Iran. He was originally sentenced to 39 months in prison and fined USD 6,600. At his new trial, Quinn pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of making false statements to agents investigating a trade embargo case. In November, he was placed on 18 months' probation and 70 hours' community service.

In May, Texas-based heavy equipment vendor Hoss Equipment Company began a battle with Caterpillar Inc over its action in 2006 to stamp out parallel imports. Caterpillar was attempting to prevent a number of equipment dealers from importing its hydraulic excavator models that are not imported by Caterpillar itself.

Hoss Equipment Company claimed Cat was "subverting the US government into unwittingly restraining free trade". National law firm Bryan Cave LLP, Alex Lyon Auctioneers, Yoder and Frey Auctioneers, World Tractor and Equipment and Worldwide Machinery, backed Hoss.

In September, Caterpillar backed down from its attempt to ban grey imports, settling the matter before it went to court. The company has agreed to allow the dealers to continue to import its hydraulic excavators if certain safety issues are addressed.

Price rises

The effects of rising materials costs hit manufacturers and they passed this on to end users.

Watts Tyre Group warned forklift OEM dealers in March they must adapt to a "new paradigm" with the rising prices of tyres. The company increased the price of its tyres by 6% and then10% because of the increased cost of rubber. According to Watts, rubber prices rose by 35% in one year.

In June, Toyota Industries Corp raised the domestic prices of its forklifts by 6.5% in Japan, the biggest increase since 1992, due to increasing prices of steel and other materials.

Solideal Group increased prices on all of its tyres by 8% to 15% in July and then again by 8% in September.

Also in July, Japanese automotive giant Nissan raised domestic prices on its forklifts by 4.8% to 6.5%.

In October, Trelleborg Wheel Systems increased the price of its tyres in Europe by 7% to 10%.

Industry growth and regulation

The US-based Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) released a report in February stating exports of US-made construction machinery grew 26% from 2006 to 2007, with a total of USD17.2 billion worth of equipment sold worldwide.

AEM highlighted the need for the United States to step up infrastructure investment or risk being left behind, especially by emerging markets.

In March, British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) released figures showing the UK forklift market grew by 3.5% in the 2007 calendar year. BITA secretary general James Clark said it is difficult to predict the strength of the 2008 UK forklift market as "business confidence in some sectors is not as strong" as before.

At a time of the year when the media was heralding the coming credit crunch, industry analyst firm Plimsoll Publishing released a report in April saying the UK forklift market was bucking global trends and appeared cashed up and ready to buy. Plimsoll surveyed the UK's top 420 forklift companies to find many were in a strong position.

By midyear, a Plimsoll study recommended UK forklift companies consolidate because supply was outstripping demand. The study found that out of those top UK companies, a third was on the brink of failure.

A further study by the industry analyst warned that almost 2,500 jobs could go as forklift companies faced tough conditions.

In July, Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) upgraded the Thorough Examination documentation to make them easier to use and changes were made to the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) to make training and testing more practical and flexible for the industry.

September saw the launch of the Fork Lift Truck Association's first ever National Fork Lift Safety Week. The FLTA initiative highlighted the unacceptable high death toll and serious injury rates resulting from accidents involving forklifts.

The FLTA launched a new employee safety booklet - 'Employee Safety: Working with Fork Lift Trucks' -which aims to help reduce the number of accidents. Written specifically for those working alongside forklifts, and those who manage them, the booklet reflects the FLTA's strong commitment towards training.

Plimsoll's analysis of the UK forklift industry in October found 2008 had been a year of struggle and loss with at least 143 losing money. David Pattison, senior analyst of Plimsoll, said there were concerns over the number of forklift firms using an overdraft as a permanent means of finance.

In a new report, Plimsoll predicted the economic slow-down would see the UK forklift industry experience a series of takeovers and sell-offs as smaller companies sold to bigger companies.

Industry Recognition

Rocla Oyj was awarded an honourable mention in the Red Dot design competition for its h2 tiller arm for warehouse forklifts. Linde (China) Forklift Truck Corp Ltd received two awards recognising the quality of its forklifts and its contribution to logistics development.

Still won a Red Dot award for its SU 20 electric low-lift truck and another for its FM series of mast forklifts and Linde got a Red Dot for the 396 series forklift. Crown won a Red Dot for its WF3000 Series stacker.

At the third Shenzhen Logistics Conference in Shenzhen, Linde (China) was recognised as a '2007 Shenzhen Top 10 Logistics Equipment Supplier' based on its product quality, service and contribution to Guangdong logistics development since 1995.

Crown Equipment Corp's design centre and Design Central Inc of Columbus, Ohio won a gold International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) for Crown's RC 5500 rider counterbalance forklift.

Rocla was awarded the global Automated Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVS) Award 2008 in October for its achievements, innovations and best practice in the field.

Combilift celebrated 10 years
Combilift celebrated 10 years
Combilift Ltd won the Irish Exporters Association's Exporter of the Year award and the Manufacturing Exporter Award 2008 in recognition of its export achievements.

The road ahead

Komatsu's Harvey-Kelly says the company sees itself in a good position for next year. "The focus for next year's activities will be to use the market opportunities we have already identified," he says.

Toyota Material Handling Europe (TMHE) plans to focus on delivering the highest quality service and added-value solutions that allow companies to focus on their core business during the challenging times in 2009.

A TMHE spokesperson says Toyota will offer customers a fresh, comprehensive product line-up and an integrated European network that will help better manage resources and provide the right services to meet customers' needs.

Chu Jiang, vice president of Ningbo Ruyi Joint Stock Co Ltd, says everyone knows it will be tough in 2009 but Ruyi will support its customers through the difficulties. "Ruyi will attach more importance to developing new products from a customer's point of view," he says. "Ruyi was used to manufacturing OEM products with customers' samples or drawings.

"However, now we have to put great effort in the independent development of products that meets the market demands."

Ruyi will be at ProMAT in Chicago from 12 to 15 January.

Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw DL of Samuk Lift Trucks Ltd says Samuk's survival issues are relatively trivial when related to the problems facing the market leaders. "The forklift industry has to reorganise itself before it repeats the North American car manufacturers' fiasco by allowing Asian manufacturers to erode their market with smaller cars.

"My bet is that our industry will finish up with 10 significant companies of which three leaders will try to achieve 20% of the market," he says. "2009 is likely to see the acceleration of forklift globalisation."

Maximal's spokesperson says the global financial crisis affected forklift sales; however, the company will continue to update existing products and release new ones. Maximal is currently testing its new 4.5-tonne diesel forklift and will soon release its 5-tonne diesel forklift.

"The general economic situation we experienced in 2008, especially in the third and fourth quarters, will continue in 2009, at least in the first part of the year. This is a clear fact we have to live with.

"Even if the market is reduced, we still have to compete, offer better products, better service and new ideas."

Still says it is better prepared to face the difficult times ahead because over the past thirty years it has focused on conserving energy through innovative technology. A spokesperson says that each new Still truck is designed to offer the lowest total cost of ownership available on the market.

"The new year will bring about further energy-saving innovations from the company. For example, Blue-Q energy optimisation is now available on the RX 20/RX 60 range of electric counterbalance forklifts."

Fallarini says the group will face a tough period in 2009, "but Bolzoni Auramo is prepared to support customers with new products, new services and innovative proposals.

"In 2009, we will launch five new fork positioner models, a new range of rotators for heavy-duty and aggressive environments, such as foundry or fish industry, a new range of lateral clamps, with many different clamping arms for pulp, waste and white goods," he says. "The company will also launch a new full range of multi-pallet handlers, a new full range of push-pulls for non-palletised goods handling, both as fork-mounted and hung-on versions."

Fallarini says Bolzoni Auramo plans to improve several internal processes, efficiency and the quality of facilities and products.

Intella's VandenTop says 2009 will see the company expanding its product line and website and adding more parts for electric forklifts.

Yale's Frank Ulbricht
Yale's Frank Ulbricht
Yale will use the momentum created from CeMAT 2008 to continue its growth in 2009.

Frank Ulbricht, Yale Europe Materials Handling managing director, believes the growth will be as a direct result of the introduction of new product ranges, the development of Yale's independent dealer network and the success of new pan-European and global account business.

"Yale has steadily increased its independent dealer network throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA)," he says. "We have strengthened our aftermarket service and parts supply programs to ensure the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

"Yale has also restructured its major accounts operation to guarantee the business objectives of its national, pan-European and global account customers are met."

Ulbricht says Yale's ultimate success lies in its partnership with dealers. "Providing comprehensive support and working in partnership with our dealers is critical to our success. The Yale distribution network continues to expand and the quality of our products combined with our commitment to customer satisfaction continues to attract new customers and dealers."
MHI innovation winners unveiled at MODEX
MHI innovation winners unveiled at MODEX 4 Apr 2024 - Atlanta, GA, United States - 2 min read
Bobcat recognises dealers
Bobcat recognises dealers 21 Mar 2024 - West Fargo, ND, United States - 1 min read
Palfinger posts record FY profit
Palfinger posts record FY profit 14 Mar 2024 - Bergheim, Austria - 1 min read
Previously about:
Barloworld-BayWa JV starts trading News Story - 2 Mar 2017 - Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa - 2 min read
2012 looking brighter News Story - 5 Jan 2012 - 8 min read
Barloworld faces challenging conditions News Story - 14 May 2009 - Johannesburg, South Africa - 2 min read
Bolzoni appoints distributor in Mexico News Story - 20 May 2021 - Monterrey, Mexico - 1 min read
MEYER and BOLZONI AURAMO – live from LogiMAT 2019 Advertisement - 21 Feb 2019 - 3 min read
CeMAT Asia ends on a high News Story - 5 Nov 2015 - Shanghai, China - 2 min read
Briefs News Story - 1 Feb 2024 - 1 min read
Combilift, Hangcha, Baoli release new forklifts News Story - 28 Sep 2023 - Monaghan, Ireland - 1 min read
Green Cubes to power Doosan forklifts News Story - 10 Aug 2023 - Kokomo, IN, United States - 1 min read
Two battery gigafactories planned in US News Story - 4 Apr 2024 - Greenville County, SC, United States - 2 min read
Movers & Shakers News Story - 4 Apr 2024 - 4 min read
EnerSys to build gigafactory in South Carolina News Story - 22 Feb 2024 - Greenville, SC, United States - 1 min read
New generation of Haulotte boom lifts News Story - 28 Mar 2024 - Lorette, France - 1 min read
No profit for Haulotte despite sales spike News Story - 21 Mar 2024 - Lorette, France - 1 min read
RTS named Haulotte dealer for Thailand News Story - 29 Feb 2024 - Bangkok, Thailand - 1 min read
Hyster donates 500,000th forklift News Story - 14 Mar 2024 - Craigavon, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom - 1 min read
Hyster forklift wins design award News Story - 22 Feb 2024 - Greenville, NC, United States - 1 min read
Hyster unveils power-switching system News Story - 8 Feb 2024 - Greenville, NC, United States - 1 min read
JCB India celebrates 500,000th machine News Story - 11 Apr 2024 - Ballabgarh, India - 1 min read
Explore Plant and Transport Solutions places GBP6 million JCB order News Story - 1 Feb 2024 - Worksop, United Kingdom - 1 min read
Forklift saves Christmas News Story - 14 Dec 2023 - Annahagh, Ireland - 1 min read
New port equipment for Croatia, Oman and Reunion Island News Story - 22 Feb 2024 - 4 min read
Montevideo orders 20 Kalmar hybrid straddle carriers News Story - 18 Jan 2024 - Montevideo, Uruguay - 1 min read
Wallenius Wilhelmsen places order with Kalmar News Story - 11 Jan 2024 - Oslo, Norway - 1 min read
Logimat: Attachment and accessory enhancements News Story - 18 May 2023 - Stuttgart, Germany - 8 min read
Organisers happy with smaller bauma News Story - 3 Nov 2022 - Munich, Germany - 3 min read
Supply chain issues overshadow LogiMAT News Story - 30 Jun 2022 - Stuttgart, Germany - 7 min read
Baoli unveils new reach truck News Story - 18 Apr 2024 - Milan, Italy - 1 min read
KION posts records FY earnings News Story - 7 Mar 2024 - Frankfurt, Germany - 1 min read
Kion launches new electric forklift range News Story - 29 Feb 2024 - Summerville, SC, United States - 1 min read
Komatsu unveils sodium-ion powered forklift News Story - 14 Mar 2024 - Tokyo, Japan - 1 min read
Komatsu buys American Battery Solutions News Story - 23 Nov 2023 - Chicago, IL, United States - 1 min read
Forklift driver dies after airport accident News Story - 7 Sep 2023 - Boston, MA, United States - 1 min read
Lower emissions a major focus at LogiMAT News Story - 11 Apr 2024 - Stuttgart, Germany - 5 min read
Many paths to automation at LogiMAT News Story - 4 Apr 2024 - Stuttgart, Germany - 6 min read
Safety front of mind at LogiMAT News Story - 28 Mar 2024 - Stuttgart, Germany - 6 min read
The Chinese are coming News Story - 23 Jun 2016 - Hannover, Germany - 6 min read
Maximal's A Series Forklift: Engineering for the Driver Advertisement - 1 Oct 2015 - 1 min read
Maximal Container Stacker soon to be released to the market Advertisement - 24 Apr 2014 - 1 min read
New name and logo for NACCO Materials Handling Group News Story - 19 Nov 2015 - Cleveland, OH, United States - 1 min read
Deal will double Poole’s revenue News Story - 25 Jun 2015 - Raleigh, NC, United States - 1 min read
Load handling in the harshest port operating environments Advertisement - 6 Nov 2014 - 4 min read
Briefs News Story - 22 Dec 2016 - 2 min read
New products News Story - 30 Jun 2016 - 1 min read
New products shown at MODEX News Story - 7 Apr 2016 - Atlanta, GA, United States - 6 min read
LogiMAT: Automation on the rise News Story - 11 May 2023 - Stuttgart, Germany - 8 min read
DS Smith deploys AGVs News Story - 26 Aug 2021 - London, United Kingdom - 1 min read
UniCarriers partners with Rocla AGV News Story - 4 Apr 2019 - Marengo, IL, United States - 1 min read
Many paths to automation at LogiMAT News Story - 4 Apr 2024 - Stuttgart, Germany - 6 min read
Still delivers Li-ion batteries to recycler News Story - 8 Feb 2024 - Hamburg, Germany - 1 min read
Still's Smart Charging saves customer EUR30,000 News Story - 21 Dec 2023 - Hamburg, Germany - 1 min read
Briefs News Story - 15 Dec 2011 - 2 min read
Many paths to automation at LogiMAT News Story - 4 Apr 2024 - Stuttgart, Germany - 6 min read
Toyota to build energy R&D centre News Story - 14 Mar 2024 - Greene, NY, United States - 1 min read
Movers & Shakers News Story - 7 Mar 2024 - 3 min read
New Yale order pickers available in the UK News Story - 18 Apr 2024 - Frimley, United Kingdom - 1 min read
Safety front of mind at LogiMAT News Story - 28 Mar 2024 - Stuttgart, Germany - 6 min read
Yale expands budget forklift line News Story - 15 Feb 2024 - Greenville, NC, United States - 1 min read
Do you have materials handling news? Submit your news here

PREMIUM business

Cascade Corporation (World HQ)
Leading manufacturers of attachments, forks and related technologies for forklifts and AGVs.

CeMAT Australia is returning to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on July 23 - 25, 2024.

Register for free and experience the leading global trade show for intralogistics, materials handling, and supply chain management, and familiarise yourself with the latest technology in your sector!

Register Now! 

Words of support …

After advertising with, we got many enquiries regarding interest to be our distributor. Mostly from Europe and USA but including a few in ASEAN. We feel that the advertisement was useful and good for market expansion.

Lawrence Xu, Assistant Sales Manager - Resonac Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Showcased in the Virtual Expo

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

“I really enjoy your newsletter and share the articles with all my training team for industry currency. I also print and display specific articles on forklift safety and accidents on our notice board for all the learners who attend our training courses to read...”

Gavin Trim - CEO, High Risk Work Licence Assessor, Mechanical Handling Equipment Specialist - Nationwide Training

Thanks Gavin for sharing your experience with Forkliftaction

Upcoming industry events …
May 15-17, 2024 - Jakarta, Indonesia
June 4–6, 2024 - Brisbane, Australia
June 17-19, 2024 - Vancouver, Canada
Words of support …

After advertising with, we got many enquiries regarding interest to be our distributor. Mostly from Europe and USA but including a few in ASEAN. We feel that the advertisement was useful and good for market expansion.

Lawrence Xu, Assistant Sales Manager - Resonac Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

PREMIUM business

Rocla AGV Solutions
Leading developer & manufacturer of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) tailored to the customers' specific needs.

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

“I really enjoy your newsletter and share the articles with all my training team for industry currency. I also print and display specific articles on forklift safety and accidents on our notice board for all the learners who attend our training courses to read...”

Gavin Trim - CEO, High Risk Work Licence Assessor, Mechanical Handling Equipment Specialist - Nationwide Training

Thanks Gavin for sharing your experience with Forkliftaction