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Kalmar strengthens its global identity

Following its acquisition of the Dutch container-handling specialist Nelcon, Kalmar Industries has announced a series of changes, most of which relate to the integration of Nelcon into the Kalmar organisation.

Common platforms are to be developed for the various families of Kalmar machines and the company has signalled its intention to strengthen its global brand identity: in future, all yard equipment will be branded "Kalmar" and sold and serviced through Kalmar's worldwide distribution network.

One family of straddle carriers
There is to be just one family of straddle carriers: the diesel-electric range, the diesel-hydraulic machines and the revolutionary new Shuttle Carrier.This allows the company to obtain savings through greater purchasing power and simplified spares management but it also enables new product developments, eg automation systems, to be incorporated across the entire family of products both quickly and easily.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Kalmar's Finnish-built range of Sisu trucks and its US-built Magnum and Ottawa terminal tractors would all be marketed internationally as Kalmar machines - although the Ottawa name was retained for the local North American market. Now, Kalmar has announced that it is to develop a new terminal tractor platform suitable as a common base for both its US and European-built trucks.Furthermore, its worldwide terminal tractor operations are to be combined under one organisation: Trailer Logistics.

A longterm commitment to quay cranes
Although Nelcon's established range of rail-mounted gantry cranes for container handling will in future be branded simply as Kalmar, the Dutch company's ship-to-shore (STS) and mobile harbour cranes will be sold under the product name "Kalmar Nelcon". This, explains Kalmar, reflects not only Nelcon's strong brand name and reference list in this sector but also the fact that the process of selling ship-to-shore cranes differs considerably from that of selling yard equipment.

Despite the competitive market place, Kalmar believes there is solid potential for the technically-advanced Nelcon ship-to-shore container crane products and at the Terminal Operations Conference in Lisbon (18-21 June), it was able to announce new orders for two such cranes for Uniport in Rotterdam.

A strengthening of Kalmar's sales capabilities
Following the acquisition of Nelcon, Kalmar is able to offer the market a comprehensive set of container handling machines including a trio of straddle carrier machines and both steel- and rubber-wheeled yard stacking cranes. Virtually every customer preference can be satisfied.

The former Nelcon products will benefit from access to Kalmar's global sales and servicing network but in addition, Kalmar's sales and servicing activities in the vitally important Benelux region have been enhanced with the Nelcon link. The company is to relocate the top management of its Container Handling Divisionfrom Sweden/Finland to Rotterdam get closer to the market and supportthe process of integration

Kalmar is already identifying synergies between the two organisations, according to Mr Granskog:

"Reinforcing our presence in the Benelux market fits in with our aim to get closer to our customers. Rotterdam and Antwerp are two of Europe's top three container ports and also rank fifth and tenth in the world league table. We want to have really close working relationships with the terminal operators in these two ports and in other ports in this area.

"Equipment-wise, the addition of a proven diesel-electric straddle carrier design alongside our established diesel-hydraulic machine has been welcomed by all of our sales teams. Together with the new Shuttle Carrier, we now have an unparalleled range of straddle carrier machines. We are able to meet virtually any terminal operator's needs and preferences.

"Our engineers and sourcing departments are now examining all theopportunity for synergies. Jointly, our buying power is much greater and we also should be able to harmonise the designs to incorporate more common components. This will result in savings both in product costs and after sales support.

The combination of RMGs and RTGs also makes Kalmar much stronger, says Mr Granskog:

"Usually, the customer decides whether to go for an RMG or RTG solution. Previously, if he chose the RMG option, Kalmar was out of the picture. Now, we will still be very much in the frame."

With ship-to-shore and mobile cranes, the situation called for a different approach, says Mr Granskog:

"Nelcon is the recognised brand name in these sectors, especially in North Europe where Nelcon has been most successful. It is virgin territory for Kalmar. Indeed, despite fierce competition, Nelcon has just been successful in securing a new order from a prestigious client who appreciates the company and all that it stands for in terms of engineering quality, excellent design and first-class after sales service."