Materials Handling Online -- December 7, 2000
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SYDNEY, Australia -- Suggestions that the bankruptcy filing by Daewoo Motor Company, based in Seoul, Korea, could seriously affect the company's forklift operations are unfounded, says Daewoo Heavy Industries (DHI) managing director, Australia, Harry Park.

DHI has not been part of Daewoo Motor Company since August 1999 and the bankruptcy had "nothing to do with Daewoo forklifts", Mr Park said.

On October 23, DHI's machinery division, which builds forklifts, became a separate entity, called Daewoo Heavy Industries and Machinery (DHIM).

DHIM manufactures forklifts for Crown in Australia, New Zealand and Malayasia.

Crown's Daewoo-made trucks have stamped their mark in Australia, commanding 12% of the market, according to Crown, after only three years. DHIM holds 5% of the world forklift market, and almost 70% of the Korean market.

Daewoo Motor sought court protection from creditors last month after banks decided not to provide new loans without the Korean labor union's cooperation on a restructuring plan.

Industry insiders say creditors told the company to reduce overheads by shedding staff, or risk collapse. Rioting Daewoo manufacturing plant workers hit the streets of Korea when the news spread, forcing the company to declare itself bankrupt to cut staff levels.

In a newscast on Koreas's Arirang TV on November 27, DHIM Industrial Vehicle Division managing director Ra Duckjoo said that, since separating from DHI, the company had received orders worldwide and offers for business tieups.

General Motors and GM's Italian partner Fiat are currently in talks with Daewoo Motor Company, which, at June 30, had interest-bearing debts of US$7.45 billion, according to Reuters.

SYDNEY, Australia -- The Australian Consumer & Competition Commission (ACCC) has revealed that at least one other company entered final-stage negotiations to buy Brambles Industries Ltd's forklift rental arm before pulling out.

Nacco Materials Handling Group (NMHG) last month announced the purchase of the Brambles fleet.

The ACCC is the Australian Government's competition regulator, and must approve corporate buyouts if there is potential for a market monopoly.

ACCC mergers commissioner Ross Jones said the regulator had given "all but the final approval" to the company, which, he would not name, to go ahead with the purchase of the Brambles fleet, in March this year.

Because it was a confidential application, the ACCC was prevented from gauging market reaction to the purchase and its implications.

The ACCC gave in-principle approval, but stipulated final approval would have to wait until after a publio announcement to allow comment on the proposal.

However the public announcement did not come. The company that applied took no further action, Mr Jones said. It is not known whether the application had been a "test the water" move from Nacco. The company did not respond to questions from

Brambles spokesman Robin Mitchell denied knowledge of any negotiations, and would not comment on other companies that may have expressed interest in the business.

NMHG bought Brambles' 5000-unit rental fleet, the largest in Australia, to combine with its 3000 machines. The purchase has been approved the the ACCC.

Brambles chief executive officer John Fletcher said the sale, foreshadowed at the company's November 10 annual general meeting, would generate close to A$84 million and result in a "modest after-tax loss".

Mr Fletcher also said a sale of the European forklift rentals business was being considered. The company's annual report said European trends were "similar to the Australian experience...Because of this, the company is attempting to divest its forklift activities.
LJUNGBY, Sweden -- Kakmar Industries has unveiled the shuttle carrier, designed for ports preparing to meet the challenge of container vessels carrying up to 12,000 containers.

The shuttle carrier operates between ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and the container stack, and "will enable stevedores to increase substantially the speed and efficiency of ship-handling operations", according to the company.

Kalmar Industries provides materials handling equipment to ports, terminals and industrial customers. Kalmar says every fourth container or trailer transfer in the world is handled by a Kalmar machine.

The company says the new handler will eliminate the problem of terminal tractors being unable to handle grounded containers. The shuttle carrier offers the benefits of a straddle carrier, "but at a lower cost".

The shuttle carrier is a smaller version of Kalmar's straddle carrier. Since it stacks only two-high, its construction is lighter and its running speed higher. A lower centre of gravity enables it to achieve higher cornering speeds safely.

Kalmar marketing vice president Ilkka Annala said by eliminating the need to synchronise STS and transfer vehicle operations, stevedores would find it easier to achieve the handling rates their customers expected.

"Crane drivers can concentrate on working a ship as quickly as possible. They will not be slowed by having to wait for transfer vehicles and the need to position containers precisely onto the chassis," Mr Annala said.

"There should be little or no waiting time on the quay or at the stack."

The shuttle carrier was designed in conjunction with Antwerp stevefore Hessenatie NV. Hessenatie will use shuttle carriers with rail-mounted gantry cranes.

"We have already presented this concept to several leading terminal operators. Around the world, there is a significant number of new facilities being discussed, so the timing is perfect for this idea." Mr Annala said.

"We are specially excited about the possibilities of integrating Kalmar shuttle carriers and rubber-tyred gantries. Such a system would show considerable productivity gains over existing operations."

Meanwhile, Kalmar has moved to strengthen its German market position with the acquisition of Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Eger GmbH, a company which has been the German sales and service company for Sisu Terminal Systems since 1976.

Kalmar Industries has distributed Sisu-branded container handling equipment in Germany since merging with Sisu Terminal Systems in 1997. Kalmar's German subsidiary, Kalmar Flurforderzeuge Vertriebs GMBH, has been responsible for sales and service ot other Kalmar products.

Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Eger GmbH, which has an annual turnover of around US$10million, will now merge with Kalmar Flurforderzeuge Vertriebs.

LONDON, England -- A heavily-armed gang used a forklift to load 33 boxes of Gucci watches into a truck in a brazen robbery in the English capital last week.

This Is London reported the gang of six stormed a shipping warehouse and threatened staff with guns before blindfolding and gagging them.

The robbers then used a forklift to load a 7.5 tonne truck and made their getaway. The newspaper said the gang struck early in the morning, when the warehouse doors were raised for morning deliveries.


DUKINFIELD, England--A nine-week-old girl is lucky she escaped death when a forklift fell onto her pram on a busy Manchester street.

News service said Jolie Smith was unhurt when a forklift fell from the back of a truck and landed on her pram on December 1.

The child is now described as a "miracle baby", after having survived a complicated birth when her heart stopped beating while she was still in her mother's womb.

"Jolie was gurgling away as if nothing had happened. She didn't even cry," the baby's mother said. Both parents were treated for shock.

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