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Dear reader,
WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #354 - 03 April 2008 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
“Veri-Tek’s 2007 revenues grow by 163%”

INSIDE FORKLIFTACTION.COM

SPECIAL REPORT: Forklifts in the Construction Industry

NEWS
Barloworld buys Swift Group
Crown receives USD1 million fuel cell research funding
Jungheinrich expands with factories
Bac2 launches blank bipolar plates
Veri-Tek’s 2007 revenues grow by 163%
De Lage Landen partners with Doosan America
JCB and Hyster sponsor sports teams
Technicians argue GPS on global forum
Sample of used equipment for sale
Briefs
Movers & Shakers
Alcohol thieves used forklift

LOCAL NEWS
Jungheinrich dumps Red for NTP
Safety heroes for 2008
Older workers are key to growth
Small businesses forecast gloom
Urgent infrastructure needed for SA

MEDIA RELEASES
Hu-Lift will attend CeMAT in Germany
MATEX 2008 – The “Great Fork Off” heat winners are...

PRODUCT WATCH
RackDeflektor Fits All Major Pallet Racking Uprights
Yale reaches new heights with Heavy Duty Mast

ADVERTISEMENTS
Remote control forklifts for sale at Matex!
Kalmar - Five High Top Picks for sale
Selling used equipment in Asia? List all your forklifts for US$40 a month!
Used equipment in demand overseas: export while the dollar’s down.

YOUR FOCUS: Rubber market bounces around



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Inside Forkliftaction.com
Technology always seems to divide audiences. And if you have any doubts, take a look at the increasingly heated discussion under way on our Forums, about the use of GPS (global positioning satellite tracking) in forklift fleets. Sparked by a researcher in Pennsylvania, the forum is split between those who are outraged at the prospect of spying on staff with the aid of a satellite and others who have no problem keeping an eye on operations – albeit from a stratospheric vantage point. There’s one particularly telling contribution from a fleet manager who notes a “magical” 18% drop in fuel costs, a 15% reduction in insurance premiums and a range of other benefits, leading to the conclusion that “GPS has been very good for us”.  It seems that Big Brother does work – for some.



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SPECIAL FEATURE
Forklifts in the Construction Industry

The biggest and the best in telehandlers were recently on show at the largest trade show in North America, Conexpo-Con/Agg 2008. Organised by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the Las Vegas construction and agricultural expo covered over 2.293 million sqft of exhibit space, boasting the very latest in telehandler technology and design. Christine Liew looks at some of the new telehandlers for the construction industry.  Read more

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NEWS STORIES
Barloworld buys Swift Group
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa

Barloworld Logistics, Barloworld’s supply chain management subsidiary, has acquired Dubai-based Swift Group and its overseas affiliates for USD70 million.

Swift Group and its affiliates in the Far East, India, UAE, Africa and Germany specialise in logistics solutions and services. Now in its 19th year of operations, Swift has established services between South East Asia and Western Europe and freight logistics solutions for African markets. It has over 600 employees in 46 offices in 20 countries.

The acquisition is expected to catapult Barloworld Logistics into the global arena, especially in the multimodal transport solutions sector.

Paul Stuiver, Barloworld Logistics’ CEO, says the acquisition cost is subject to final adjustment based on profit and other warranties to be achieved.

“The skills, networks and clients of Swift and its affiliates will enable Barloworld Logistics to provide multimodal solutions in the global logistics arena.

“By expanding our freight management services through their networks, we will become a significant player in the supply chain network that stretches from Asian manufacturing to Western Europe and African customers.”

Stuiver sees significant growth potential as Swift has an extensive African network which offers Barloworld Logistics the opportunity to sell additional supply chain services into these markets.

Muhannad Al Ashram, managing director of Al Ashram Enterprises, Barloworld Logistics’ Dubai partner, says the acquisition will consolidate the companies’ logistics activities in Dubai, an “important global logistics and trans-shipment hub”.

“Most of the existing multimodal market originating from South East Asia is trans-shipped through the UAE,” he says.

Swift Group chairman and founder Issa Baluch calls the acquisition a “milestone” for the group’s staff, management and stakeholders to be recognised as having “sound strategy” and having the potential to grow in the Barloworld group.

“I am extremely happy for this organisation and I believe we have a bright future ahead in pursuit of our corporate goal to serve the world from Dubai.”

Swift is one of the first companies to reserve space in Dubai Logistics City for a purpose-built logistics centre and airside facility at the new World Central Airport to provide smooth air connectivity for shipments. It currently has 18,000 pallet positions at its warehouses in the Jebel Ali Zone in Dubai.

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Crown receives USD1 million fuel cell research funding
NEW BREMEN, OH, United States

Crown Equipment Corp has been awarded about USD1 million from the state of Ohio to conduct fuel cell research.

The project will focus on addressing the technical and commercial barriers to the application of available battery replacement fuel cell power packs in forklifts. It will facilitate the creation and growth of fuel cell-powered materials handling equipment used in warehouses and distribution centres.

Company president Jim Dicke III says the project is important to the technological advancement of Crown forklifts.

Dicke explains that there are considerations to evaluate before a wide-range of forklifts powered by fuel cell can be offered.

“In the current design, the battery provides a counterweight to the load. Fuel cells are much lighter. We need to explore solutions and make sure all systems are compatible to ensure the critical performance characteristics of a forklift.”

The performance of each unique combination of Crown’s forklifts and fuel cell power will be reviewed. The study is expected to reveal the modifications required to maintain forklift functionality while complying with industry standards.

Funding for the project is provided by the Ohio Department of Development and Ohio’s Third Frontier Commission.

Ohio’s Third Frontier Commission has a fuel cell program providing grants to support growth of Ohio’s fuel cell industry through collaborations with Ohio higher education institutions, non-profit research organisations and companies.

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Jungheinrich expands with factories
HAMBURG, Georgia

Jungheinrich will 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 and follows the announcement that Jungheinrich is doubling capacity at its used forklift factory in Klipphausen, near Dresden.

Jungheinrich’s Klipphausen facility has been refurbishing Jungheinrich forklifts for the European market since 2006. The facility was established because Jungheinrich wanted to “avoid placing refurbishment orders with outside companies” and to lessen the burden on its dealers’ workshops, explains Ronald Ohlrogge, head of rental, used trucks and workshops. About a third of all Jungheinrich forklifts are rented or leased.

Jungheinrich’s refurbishment arm, Gebrauchtgeräte-Zentrum Dresden GmbH & Co. KG, had 25 employees refurbishing 600 trucks in single-shift operation by the end of 2006. The number of employees spiked to 75 in 2007 and about 2,800 trucks were refurbished, partly in a two-shift operation.

“We expect approximately 4,500 trucks during the current year“, says Ohlrogge.

The second expansion stage was put into operation on 1January 2008. The production and storage area was expanded from 5,000 m² to 11,500 m².

Hans-Herbert Schultz, managing director of Jungheinrich UK, says: “The significant investment we are making in our new factory at Leipzig and in the development of the used truck centre at Dresden reflect our determination to continue to develop the Jungheinrich brand still further and will ensure that this company is extremely well placed to meet the growing international demand for its products.”

Last year, Jungheinrich completed a EUR40 million (USD62.5 million) upgrade of its warehouse trucks production factory at Norderstedt, just outside Hamburg (Forkliftaction.com News #331). It claims the Norderstedt plant is the largest single sit-on reach truck factory in the world.

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Bac2 launches blank bipolar plates
SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom

Fuel cell materials company Bac2 will launch blank bipolar plates for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells at the Fuel Cell Pavilion during Hannover Messe 2008.

James Lewis, Bac2’s marketing director, says the new plates, designed for prototyping, can be easily machined for individual applications.

Each plate measures 300mm x 200mm x 3 mm and Bac2 says its conductivity exceeds the US Department of Energy specifications for use in automotive applications.

“They are essentially an aid to rapid prototyping of fuel cells, enabling various designs of plate to be explored,” Lewis says. “Once the design is finalised, customers would order moulded plates with the appropriate channels moulded into them.”

He adds that the new plates are larger than the samples previously offered and are the first to be offered in quantities that would enable fuel cells to be produced. Up to 100 plates can be ordered on a seven-day delivery.

The ElectroPhen polymer has patents pending in Europe, US and Japan, and is used to create bipolar plates and end caps for PEM fuel cell stacks.

These parts constitute about 30% of the cost of PEM fuel cell stacks, Lewis says. The plates connect individual fuel cells and provide connections to the outside world, similar to connectors in batteries.

Bac2 announced it had raised GBP2 million (USD4.1 million) in private funds to market its key product last year (Forkliftaction.com News #339).

Industrial technology expo Hannover Messe 2008 will be held from 21-25 April in Hannover, Germany.

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Kalmar - Five High Top Picks for sale

For immediate sale, 7 x Kalmar DCD420-12CSG machines.
  • All units are in very good condition, ready to dismantle and ship
  • 3 x 2000 models, 3 x 2001 models, one 2002
  • Hour meter readings are 6000 to 10,000.
  • Five units located East Coast port, two on West Coast at an export terminal.
Price:  $225,000.00 USD (each).

Contact: Lee Hamre, Hamre Equipment, California, USA, (ph) +1 530 895 8955, or email Lee Hamre

Any questions, please call.

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Veri-Tek’s 2007 revenues grow by 163%
BRIDGEVIEW, IL, United States

Veri-Tek International Corp, the parent company of Manitex Litfking, has seen its sales grow 163% from USD 40.7 million to USD106.9 million for the year ended 31 December 2007.

Part of the reason for the revenue increase is an accounting factor since the 2007 result includes sales from both Manitex and Manitex Liftking, while Manitex Liftking’s contribution is only reflected in one month of the prior year’s tally, Veri-Tek says.

For 2007, the company made USD8.5 million in earnings, compared to USD2.2 million for the same period in 2006.

David Langevin, Veri-Tek CEO, says the company’s financial performance improved markedly as the company has refocused its business exclusively on manufacturing specialised lifting equipment, strengthened its balance sheet and streamlined its operations.

“In 2007, we achieved healthy market share gains for our products, expanded our sales by over 30% year over year, and we did so profitably,” Langevin says.

“Our goal in 2008 will be to continue to expand our market share in our primary North American markets and expand our reach through international distribution partnerships to penetrate key international markets,” he adds.

In 2007, Veri-Tek acquired the Noble forklift product line that it is now integrating with its Liftking rough-terrain forklifts. Liftking was acquired in 2006.

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De Lage Landen partners with Doosan America
WAYNE, PA, United States

De Lage Landen Financial Services is partnering with Doosan Infracore America Corp to establish Doosan Global Finance, which will be a finance provider for Doosan Infracore’s forklift division.

Doosan Global Finance director Rick Schulte says the partnership will bring “significant benefts” to Doosan forklift, construction equipment and machine tool dealers.

“We are providing a one-stop-shop financing product to our customers on a global level with local attention,” Schulte says. “Now that equipment financing is part of Doosan Infracore, we can leverage the vast knowledge of our dealers, customers and industries to ensure we deliver equipment and financing options to match.”

Rod Versteegh, president of De Lage Landen’s materials handling and construction global business unit, agrees that the arrangement will benefit Doosan’s distributors and customers.

“With our product expertise and global footprint, this partnership was a natural fit for the future growth and geographic expansion of our organisations,” he says.

De Lage Landen headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dutch Rabobank Group, which is Triple-A rated by rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Through offices and joint ventures in over 30 countries, De Lage Landen specialises in asset financing and vendor finance programs.

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JCB and Hyster sponsor sports teams
ROCESTER and FLEET, United Kingdom

JCB is sponsoring and sharing specialist knowledge with international British GT sports car racing team Drayson-Barwell.

The Drayson-Barwell team is the first team to win a sports car race with a bio-ethanol fuel car during its title-winning British GT Championship campaign in 2007. It is also the only British team to enter full-time into the 2008 American Le Mans Series (ALMS), arguably the world’s most competitive car racing championship.

Drayson-Barwell says it is aiming to showcase how new energy-saving technologies can make vehicles more competitive by securing the series’ recently-announced Green Challenge.

JCB chairman Anthony Bamford says improved vehicle performance and better environmental performance were not mutually exclusive.

“We learned from our JCB Dieselmax experience that motor sport is a fertile ground for developing advanced technologies that can be applied in our production machines,” Bamford says. “I am confident that Drayson-Barwell will [also] prove to the world that there is no conflict between these two challenges,” he adds.

On 23 August 2006, JCB Dieselmax, JCB’s “streamliner” car, broke the world land speed diesel record on Utah’s Bonneville sands with its JCB444 engine, a high-power engine using low emissions combustion technology.

Drayson-Barwell is a joint venture between Barwell Motorsport and former British government minister Lord Drayson. It is committed to engineering excellence in motorsport and in the wider automotive community and specialises in developing and applying green technologies.

Separately, Hyster Europe has become a new sponsor of cycling team Team Barloworld.

The cycling team was sponsored by Barloworld five years ago as part of its marketing strategy to promote the “Barloworld” name globally. As part of its strategy, the team aimed to become the first South African-sponsored team to ride in the Tour de France and that goal was met in 2007.

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Technicians argue GPS on global forum
Australia

A US road technician has extended his informal survey of the pros and cons of GPS (global positioning satellite) “tracking” on forklift service vehicles online and found mixed responses.

The road technician, known by “batman” in Forkliftaction.com’s Discussion Forums, has been quietly surveying his work colleagues on the possibility of his workplace implementing GPS for its 100-strong road technicians.

Not satisfied with their responses, “batman” went online to our Discussion Forums and surveyed his international counterparts.

Among the questions he asked, those that attracted the most interesting responses were “What problems or issues would be solved by installing GPS on service vans?” and “Can anyone quantify in real numbers the savings by installing GPS?”.

An industry member from North Carolina says GPS “saved [his company] a ton of money”.

According to the member, fuel costs dropped 18%, insurance premiums decreased 15% and dispatch time dipped by one hour. He adds that GPS should not be used as a tool to weed out poor employees as they would show themselves in time.

Another Forkliftaction.com member from the UK says his company benefited from GPS use when it aided in the speedy recovery of a stolen van.

“Police recovered [the van] within an hour or so but (there were) no tools inside. They just retraced all the stop-off points with the tracker, then went to the thief’s house and got the lot back.”

He adds that “honest technicians” have nothing to hide and so should not worry about the device.

Forum participant “roadrat” from the US says he has no problem with GPS but is concerned about the loss of flexibility for the technician.

“If I received a phone call every time I had to detour because of a wreck or road construction or traffic, or because I took lunch early or because my customer had a bunch of trailers to load and could not turn the forklift loose or I had to make a trip to the hose-making store… then there would be an issue.”

“Proshadetree” from Tennessee, US thinks GPS may not work for some: “A thief will come up with a way to bypass it. Ask anyone who has had a car with VATS stolen. If an operator can bypass a seat switch or a height switch, a service man can bypass GPS.”

What are your thoughts on this issue? Have your say at our Discussion Forums.

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Search 4548 listings in the MarketplaceSample of used equipment for sale:

Hyster H4XM-5 2001 United Kingdom GBP 7250 Details
Eagle-Picher TM50 2001 United States USD 13500 Details
Jungheinrich EFG-DF18GE115-530DZ 1994 Germany EUR 3800 Details
Clark CMP30D 2002 Germany EUR 6800 Details
Yale GLP20AF 1997 Germany EUR 5500 Details
Sisu TR180AL 1995 Germany EUR 38000 Details
Linde E16C-02-335 2002 Germany EUR 5600 Details
Hyster H2.50DX 2001 New Zealand NZD 16500 Details
Crown RD5020-30 1998 Australia AUD 20000 Details
Lull 1044C-54 2004 United States USD 58000 Details
Yale GLP120MJ 2003 United States USD 23700 Details
Hyster E50XM2 2000 New Zealand NZD 15000 Details
Linde E14-02-335 2002 Germany EUR 4800 Details
Hyster H2.50XM 2001 United Kingdom GBP 7750 Details

and thousands more...
Click here to include your used forklifts, stackers, telehandlers, container handlers, attachments etc.

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Briefs

TVH gets sporty
WAREGEM, Belgium

TVH Group’s human resource management department is organising fitness tests for all its employees to encourage them to look after their health.

According to TVH, the company’s offices are abuzz with discussion about the voluntary fitness test that is taken during working hours.

“People are already working hard to get in better shape and obtain a better figure,” TVH spokeswoman Sofie Duquesne says.

“The intention is to repeat the tests in a later phase and in all probability to notice a general improvement of fitness level,” she adds. The company is organising sporting activities after the first test to assist employees improve their fitness level.

Mitsubishi reduces hold in Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi
TOKYO, Japan

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd will reduce its stake in a 44% joint venture (JV) with US construction machinery maker Caterpillar Inc.

According to AFP, Mitsubishi plans to sell 17% of the 50-50 JV to Caterpillar for about USD5 billion.

The JV, Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi Ltd, was established in 1963. It manufactures and sells hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders and bulldozers.

Konecranes raises stake in Japanese JV
HYVINKÄÄ, Finland

Konecranes has increased its holding from 49% to 65% in Meiden Hoist System Company Ltd, its joint venture with Meidensha Corp of Japan.

The two companies entered into the JV agreement on 6 November 2002. Konecranes, under the agreement, could increase its holding by 16% by 31 March 2008.

Konecranes hopes the increased shareholding will boost its presence in the Japanese hoist market and Japanese export markets. Meiden Hoist System Co Ltd has about 10% of the electric wire rope hoist market in Japan.

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Movers & Shakers
BOULDER CITY, NV

BOULDER CITY, NV, United States
Amerityre Corp has appointed Michael Kapral as vice president of marketing. Kapral was Carpenter Company’s tyre products division general manager. He brings 25 years of experience in the tyre and tyre products industry to Amerityre. Before joining Carpenter, he was a manager for Bridgestone/Firestone’s Pennsylvania and Virginia territories.

HAMBURG, Germany
Raeder-Vogel has restructured its production, materials management and sales departments.

Helge Michael Jappsen, director of strategic purchasing, is now responsible for the purchasing, warehousing and shipping departments as director of materials management.

Bernd Dolk, formerly sales director for export/OEM/industrial trucks, has been appointed as sales director for global sales.

Wolf-Peter Möller has joined the company as technical director, responsible for production, technical services and production scheduling.

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Alcohol thieves used forklift
BRISBANE, Australia

Thieves are suspected of stealing 17 pallets of alcohol with the aid of a forklift on Easter Sunday.

According to MX, police say thieves used a forklift at the Rocklea warehouse to load a 1999 ACCO truck with registration number 998 KBP with seven pallets of gin, two pallets of Irish whiskey, eight pallets of vodka and one pallet of champagne.

Warehouse workers discovered the robbery when they returned to work after the Easter long weekend. The thieves are believed to have pulled the heist between 7.30am on Sunday and 2.30pm on Monday.

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LOCAL STORIES

Remote control forklifts for sale at Matex!

The Forkliftaction.com team will once again be attending the Matex exhibition in Sydney. This year, the team will have on display new remote controlled forklifts; please visit the Forkliftaction.com stand (1201) and take one for a test drive. They steer, weave and lift like the real thing! Forkliftaction.com is offering these fun and lifelike forklifts for sale at $49, including postage and handling and GST.

Matex is on from 15 – 17th April at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush Bay, Halls 3B and 4.The team will be available to discuss industry news, demonstrate the Marketplace and Business Directory and assist with your marketing needs.

Email info@forkliftaction.com or phone 07 3369 9090 to arrange a personal appointment.

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Selling used equipment in Asia? List all your forklifts for US$40 a month!

Forkliftaction.com is announcing a massive sale on used equipment classifieds in our busy Marketplace.

Dealer packages are now available for US$40 per month* for unlimited listings. This price includes:
  • ShopFront in the Forkliftaction.com Business Directory
  • Unlimited used equipment classifieds in the Marketplace for six months
  • Access to wholesale price trading with other dealers
  • Access to ‘Machine wanted’ emails from Forkliftaction.com users
For more information please contact Patrick Chin on 07 3369 9090 or email info@forkliftaction.com.

* New customers only, conditions apply. Offer expires 30 June 2008.

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Used equipment in demand overseas: export while the dollar’s down.

Would you like to sell more used forklifts, warehouse forklifts, telehandlers and container handlers?
Due to strong performance by overseas economies, and a weak US dollar, we are seeing a huge increase in demand for used equipment from the USA.

Forkliftaction.com’s Marketplace is used by dealers and buyers in markets worldwide, and demand is there now.
Let us put the tools in place to get you into the export market this week.

Click here if you want to reach export markets.
Click here if you want to reach US domestic markets.

Or write to info@forkliftaction.com, phone +61 7 3369 9090 or fax +61 7 3369 9096

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Jungheinrich dumps Red for NTP
ADELAIDE, SA, Australia

Rumour became reality this week with the announcement that Red Australia’s 19-year relationship with Jungheinrich was ending, as NTP stepped in to become the German forklift manufacturer’s new distributor in Australia.

Effective 7 April 2008, NTP’s agreement with Jungheinrich will extend across all Australian states and territories, allowing it to sell the company’s full range, as well as provide after-sales service and spare parts.

The appointment sees NTP gaining access to an extensive product range in the battery electric warehousing equipment sector while Jungheinrich should benefit from NTP’s national coverage and 25-year experience in selling and servicing forklift trucks.

Jungheinrich, which began producing forklifts in 1953, is deemed to be the largest battery electric materials handling equipment manufacturer in the world and is considered the third-largest forklift manufacturer with unit production exceeding 80,000 units during 2007.

Although Forkliftaction.com broke the story in November last year (Forkliftaction.com News #337), it was dismissed at the time by both Red Australia and NTP as a rumour, who said there was no truth in it whatsoever.  

Red Australia’s sales and marketing manager Shaun O’Brien tells Forkliftaction.com News that the company has been working closely with Komatsu for some time to release its new range of electrics into Australia. “It was not unanticipated that selling a competing brand would conflict with Jungheinrich’s interests,” he adds.

Red announced this week that it would introduce the new range of Komatsu AE50/AM50 counterbalance electrics following an agreement with Komatsu Utility - Japan.

“Although our relationship with Jungheinrich dates back to 1989, Komatsu has always been our core product, and when Komatsu released their new electric range, the timing was right to make a sole commitment,” O’Brien says.

“These new electrics are the answer for customers who are serious about total operating cost, productivity and safety,” he says, adding that the range boasts many advanced features when compared with competing brands and carries an attractive price tag.

Still on the subject of rumours, Forkliftaction.com News has heard that Red Australia has been up for sale for the past 12 months and is still on the market. O’Brien refutes this. He says Sumitomo Corporation, which owns the company, has received unsolicited offers, but “chose not to pursue them”.  Watch this space.

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Safety heroes for 2008
VICTORIA, Australia

Entries are open for the 2008 WorkSafe Awards, which are celebrating 20 years of recognising excellence in health and safety innovation.

The awards have inspired other Victorian workplaces to develop and implement their own initiatives.

WorkSafe Victoria’s executive director, John Merritt, says Victoria has a long tradition of workplace safety heroes. “They’re ordinary people who go ‘above and beyond’ their everyday duties to find better and safer ways of getting the job done.”

“Since the awards began, there have been hundreds of workplace safety heroes who’ve raised the bar. In 2008, the challenge is to continue unearthing outstanding health and safety innovations and initiatives across our workplaces,” says Merritt.

Entries are being received until 9 May in seven categories:
• Health and Safety Representative of the Year
• Health and Safety Committee of the Year
• Best Design for Workplace Safety
• Best Health and Safety Initiative for Small Business
• Best Solution for Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders (formerly Sprains & Strains)
• Best Solution to a Health and Safety Risk
• Best Strategy for Health and Safety Management

The awards will be announced on 30 October 2008 during Work Safe Week.

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Older workers are key to growth
MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia

Workers aged 55 and older, particularly women, appear to be the answer to the ongoing skills and labour shortage and Australian employers must consequently shift their focus from young to old to maintain productivity.

Research findings released recently by global consultancy Mercer reveals that by the year 2012, the number of workers in the labour force aged 55+ will increase by 14% while workers aged 25 to54 will increase by only 5%.

Furthermore, the number of women aged 45+ will increase by 12% while the number of men in the same age group will increase by only 6%.

Mercer commissioned economic consultancy, Econtech, to model the profile of Australia’s workforce in 2012 to help employers identify where the future workforce will grow, and potentially shrink, the most.

The research debunks the notion that employers should only be focussing on how to attract and retain generation Y and re-enforces the reality that workers aged 55+ will be the productivity drivers for Australian businesses in the immediate future.

Head of Mercer’s retirement business, Tim Jenkins, says by looking four years out, the research highlights the urgency for employers to act immediately.

“To take pressure off wage increases, which comes with this increased demand, employers have to hold onto older workers about to exit the workforce,” says Jenkins.

“Australian employers have to re-define what the average daily and weekly job looks like and how it is remunerated in order to hold onto older workers, maintain productivity and keep downward pressure on wages that, according to our research, are forecast to rise at an average annual rate of 4.2% between now and 2012.

“In four short years, there will be close to a quarter of a million more workers aged 55+ in the Australian labour force and assumptions about what an employer should expect from an employee, and vice versa, have to change.

“This is not about changing a few HR policies. There needs to be a shift in the mindset of how, and for how long, Australians work.

“Balance in the workforce is no longer just about men and women – it’s about the young and old,” says Jenkins.

Mercer’s research found workforce participation rates will decrease in all states and territories across Australia between now and 2012. In Tasmania and the Northern Territory the supply of labour is not expected to meet the demand due to an ageing population and low population growth. Participation rates will decrease by 3% and 2% in each state respectively.

Jenkins believes the research poses a number of questions to employers such as how many jobs really need to be full-time, all of the time. How many part-time workers are needed to deliver current and future productivity requirements? How do you fill entry level jobs when the available labour force is dominated by experienced 55+ workers?

“The stigma around part-time work not equating to a career or a promotion, or part-time workers not being as valued as full-time workers has to change and employers are going to have to create more part-time roles as career roles.

“Workplace 2012 will be dominated by the race to keep skilled workers. If businesses remain complacent in changing their focus and approach to the workplace, they won’t have the necessary workforce to remain viable,” concludes Jenkins.

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Small businesses forecast gloom
Australia

Small business owners feel a recession is on its way and just over half think the economy will perform worse over the next 12 months, according to the latest MYOB Australian Small Business Survey released this week.

With 57% of small business owners surveyed believing an economic recession will occur within the next three years, confidence in the Australian economy has declined. In fact, 58% of small business owners surveyed are expecting the Australian economy to perform worse over the next 12 months.

According to Tim Reed, MYOB Australia’s managing director, this shift in confidence is significant, however the declining confidence in the economy and recession worries have not dampened small business confidence about their own business performance.

“Around 54% of small business owners surveyed expect their business performance to be better in 12 months’ time, and while this is slightly down since the last quarter, it shows that Australian small businesses continue to drive our economy forward regardless of whether we are in boom times or periods of market volatility,” says Reed.

Despite their personal optimism, the survey also shows that recent interest rate rises are hitting small business owners.

“Naturally, the current volatility in world financial markets and the upward trend in Australian interest rates are having a big impact on small businesses.  Three in five (59%) of small business owners surveyed indicated a negative outlook for interest rates over the next 12 months, a significant increase from previous quarters,” explains Reed.

Despite a change in leadership, dissatisfaction with the federal government has increased, with 44% of small business owners surveyed rating the federal government’s performance in contributing to small business as poor.  This is up from 37% in November 2007, prior to the federal election.

“While small businesses believe there will be a recession, they are not actually planning for it,” says Reed.  “Around 83% of small business owners surveyed consider planning and preparing a business to ensure survival through an economic recession to be important; however, only 44% actually have a business plan.”

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Urgent infrastructure needed for SA
FULLARTON, South Australia, Australia

A key industry consortium has described as ‘staggering’ the impending demand for infrastructure in South Australia to fuel the prospective mining boom for at least the next two decades.

In a major high-level study commissioned and released last week by the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME), the organisation warns that crucial decisions are required now on the necessary infrastructure to service the expected massive growth.

Initial estimates suggest a minimum of AUD25 billion in private infrastructure expenditure has already been flagged by South Australian explorers and mine developers as necessary for crystallising the State’s lead mineral projects or expansion of existing mining operations.

The study found that the massive expansion planned for the Olympic
Dam copper, gold and uranium mine would be pivotal in influencing infrastructure decisions impacting the whole of South Australia’s mining fraternity. Furthermore, many of the other projects combined will require infrastructure rivalling the needs of the Olympic Dam expansion and, in some cases, in a much shorter timeframe.

The state government has already formed the Resources and Energy Sectors Infrastructure Council (RESIC) in response to the preliminary findings and recommendations of the study.

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MEDIA RELEASES
Hu-Lift will attend CeMAT in Germany

The famous Chinese brand name HU-LIFT will at CeMAT 2008 in Hannover, Germany, from 27 to 31 May 2008.

Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.

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MATEX 2008 – The “Great Fork Off” heat winners are...

Have you registered to attend MATEX 2008? Australia’s premier materials handling and warehousing exhibition, MATEX will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in April and the 2008 event will feature the grand finals of the GREAT FORK OFF on the 17th of April.

Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.

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PRODUCT WATCH
RackDeflektor Fits All Major Pallet Racking Uprights

Chicago-based RackDeflektor will be launching its cost effective, easy-to-install patented deflector to protect pallet racking uprights against expensive and potentially life-threatening structural damage on stand number 3334 at the NA08 Exhibition which will be hled in Cleveland from 21 to 24 April.

Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.

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Yale reaches new heights with Heavy Duty Mast

The introduction of a new series of heavy duty high lift reach truck masts gives Yale customers the opportunity to lift full pallets to over 12 metres with the MR 16-20 HD Reach Truck.

Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.

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YOUR FOCUS
Rubber market bounces around


It’s been a bumpy ride for rubber prices in the past 12 months. Prices rose to peak in late May 2007, then weakened to a low in July 2007. Prices then recovered gradually over the next six months or so and ultimately peaked in late February 2008. Since then, prices have eased slightly to their current levels.

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Upcoming Events

1. Forklift Safety Seminars - NSW
Sydney, Australia
9 April 2008

2. The 2nd International Hoisting Machinery & Fittings Expo
Shanghai, China
April 5th-7th, 2008

3. AERA Tech & Skills Regional Conference
Miami, United States
5 April 2008

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Tenders

1. Public Invitation for collecting bids for purchase of the handling equipment
Bar, Serbia
Closing: 15 April 2008
Contract: No 10

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Jobs

1. Business Mgr Warehouse Products Yale - Full time
United States, Field Based West Coast Region

2. Regional Aftermarket Sales Manager Yale - Full time
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4. Field Service Technician - Full time
United States, Carol Stream, IL; Eagan, MN; Ankeny, IA

5. Service Manager - Full time
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6. Service Manager - Full time
United States, East Peoria, IL

7. Vice President of Sales - Full time
United States, Fremont

8. Diesel Fitter - Full time
Cayman Islands , Grand Cayman

9. Aftermarket Sales Rep - Full time
United States, Savannah

10. Forklift Technicians - Full time
United States, Myrtle Beach, SC

11. Sales/Hire coordinator/supervisor/manager - Full time
United Arab Emirates , Dubai

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Editorial Calendar 2008

January
Review of 2007
February
Forklift safety in warehouses
March
Forklifts in the construction industry
April
Materials Handling in the Benelux
May
Straddle Carriers
June
Attachments: clamps
July
ICE forklifts - trends
August
The forklift market in Australia
September
Batteries and chargers
October
Pallet stackers
November
The forklift market in Russia

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