Kalmar in 2020 - sustainability progresses, several new offerings
In 2020, the trends affecting Kalmar were similar to those of 2019 but with the key addition of the coronavirus pandemic. Uncertainty, however, caused some customers to postpone significant decisions, especially in relation to automation.
Due to the pandemic, travel restrictions made supporting some customers more difficult from a service point of view, and some projects have suffered as a direct result. On the other hand, restrictions led to a large increase in remote support demand. From that point of view, our digitalisation activities have been a good investment.
Overall Kalmar’s service business has progressed well due to our strong global footprint and wide network of services experts. The pandemic has also created new market needs. For example, we have developed a new way to sanitise equipment in order to ensure virus security between different shifts, and this service has received a good level of demand. We have been implementing a “follow the sun” approach for our remote automation support services to enable fast and efficient problem solving and reduce time to market. We have also seen growth in our e-commerce business.
During the first half of the year, container flows dropped drastically but have since recovered. We were able to meet customer demand well. While there were surprisingly few delays in deliveries for the year, some suppliers have issued warnings of potential future delays because of changing lockdown rules in different countries.
New offerings, product deliveries, automation development
In 2020, Kalmar continued with the development of an increasingly digital supply chain, which brings more value to customers due to quicker delivery times. In addition, Kalmar launched several new offerings during the year to increase safety, sustainability and productivity.
Kalmar’s offering for larger cranes is already fully electric and, for mobile equipment, we will roll out a fully electric range in 2021. The Kalmar ChargePod for electrically powered forklift trucks addresses growing customer demand for cost-effective mobile outdoor charging solutions. In addition, to provide a greater level of predictability for customers by allowing them to easily estimate the operational costs of transitioning to electric machines, an energy-saving guarantee for electric forklift trucks was introduced. We also introduced a new range of G-Generation top loaders with improved hydraulics, fuel consumption and operator ergonomics.
Even though there were no major automation project launches in 2020, there were several automation-related deliveries for products that were launched late in 2019. These included Kalmar One Automation System and Automated Truck Handling (ATH) for automated straddle carriers. Kalmar One is an open, modular and standardised container terminal automation system that enables the streamlining and automation of operations for all types of equipment irrespective of manufacturer. With ATH, we are now able to take care of the loading and unloading of trucks without human involvement.
In terms of terminal automation, we have around 17 reference customers globally and, in automating mobile equipment, we have taken decisive steps in robotisation, with our first robotic pilots already up and running.
Sustainability goals, safety targets, operational restructuring
Sustainability is one of Kalmar’s strategic focus areas. We have placed particular emphasis on reducing the emissions of our supply chain and we continue to invest in technology to enable this progress. By 2024, we aim to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by over half a million tonnes.
A major step towards that goal is helping our customers transform their vehicles from diesel drive-chain to electric drive-chain. Customers have expressed considerable interest in our electric solutions, and hybrids have been successful, with over 300 hybrid straddle carriers sold so far, for example. In addition, we are working to pave the way in providing eco-efficient options to the industrial market with a variety of fuel or energy saving guarantees such as the existing Fuel Saving Guarantee for our Eco Reachstacker and the Energy Saving Guarantee for forklifts, which was introduced in 2020.
Furthermore, we surpassed our 2020 safety targets, which brought about our best safety improvements on record. This has mainly been due to fewer people at sites and an increased safety awareness due to the pandemic. We held several town hall events on safety over the course of the year, and worked with stakeholders to drive our safety awareness and training.
In terms of operational restructuring, Cargotec sold its share of the joint venture Rainbow-Cargotec Industries Co., Ltd in May to simplify its global supply chain operations. In December, Kalmar outsourced part of its crane engineering operations in China to Etteplan to further ensure greater scalability and cost competitiveness.