Kalmar launches new brand

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Ahead of its demerger from Cargotec, Kalmar unveiled its new brand at TOC Europe in Rotterdam.

The Kalmar stand at TOC Europe in Rotterdam was the industry’s first look at Kalmar’s new branding. While the new “K” logo looks familiar, it is similar to but not exactly the same as the logo Kalmar used on some of its products prior to 2011, when Cargotec made the decision to replace logos on all new Hiab and Kalmar products with the Cargotec elephant logo.

Kalmar’s demerger from Cargotec is scheduled to be completed on or about 30 June 2024. In an interview with WorldCargo News Sami Niiranen, who is currently President of Kalmar within Cargotec and will be President and CEO of the standalone Kalmar after the demerger, said the process is well advanced and he is expecting a smooth transition to Kalmar operating as a standalone company.

Kalmar will be listed on the Helsinki Nasdaq. The investment prospectus for the share offering highlights a number of “risks” the new Kalmar faces, including setting up its own contracts and supply chains separately from Cargotec.

Niiranen said that despite this disclosure Kalmar is not expecting any major difficulties negotiating supply contracts outside of the Cargotec umbrella. In practice there are few shared components between Kalmar and Hiab products, and no shared production facilities. In fact, Niiranen said he sees opportunities and advantages for Kalmar in being able to design its own supply chains that better match its own specific requirements.

In terms of assembly facilities, the demerger leaves Kalmar with the Stargard facility, in Poland, the Ottawa terminal tractor plant in Kansas state, and the facility in Shanghai. In addition, the Bromma spreader factory in Ipoh, Malaysia, will be part of Kalmar. Assembly for both Kalmar and Hiab products takes place at the Stagard facility in Poland, but in different halls that are now divided by a fence, so there are no issues arising from the demerger.

There is some speculation that Kalmar might sell Bromma as a standalone business, on which Niiranen declined to comment.

With regard to the terminal tractor factory in Ottawa, Kansas, there is potential for this location to assemble a wider range of products. This could be particularly important for Kalmar’s liftruck sales in the US where there is an increasing amount of grant funding that comes with Build America Buy America requirements. There are also now tariffs for EV’s and battery products imported into the US that will impact electric machines. Niiranen said the Ottawa plant is not just an assembly plant, it is a “technology centre” for terminal tractors, and Kalmar is studying how to best leverage its footprint in the US. He declined to comment on issues relating to US domestic content requirements and tariffs.

A key issue for the container terminal market is the extent to which the new Kalmar is prepared to invest in automation. It is well known that Kalmar previously lost money on more than one terminal automation project, which played a key role in Cargotec’s decision for Kalmar to exit the heavy cranes business. At the same time the successful conversion of APM Terminals Pier 400 facility to Kalmar’s AutoStrad machines shows how important automation remains to Kalmar’s straddle carrier business.

The Kalmar prospectus highlights meeting customer requirements in automation projects as a key risk for the new Kalmar. It states: “Many of the risks arising from the delivery of large projects must be managed and mitigated through good contract negotiation and management systems. However, large international customers in particular often require adherence to their own contractual terms and conditions and local legislation, which may include fitness for purpose requirements or unfavourable liability limitations to Kalmar, providing only limited room for Kalmar to manage risks through contractual terms and conditions.”

Niiranen did not comment on the level of risk in automation projects, but did say Kalmar has not shifted its focus from automation and continues to develop an automaton strategy for all its product lines. How it will proceed in this regard depends on the product and the application. In terminal tractors, Kalmar has partnered with Forterra to develop an autonomous terminal tractor solution. Kalmar will develop the drive-by-wire tractor and fleet management system, while Forterra will integrate its AutoDrive platform for autonomous driving.

Overall Niiranen said Kalmar’s work on the demerger “has been proceeding according to plan”. Interim arrangements have been put in place to contract some IT and legal services from Cargotec until Kalmar has its own contractors or in-house resources in place, but he expects these to be very short-term arrangements. Kalmar customers should not see any disruption after the demerger, he expects.

In terms of the dealer and service network, again there will be very few changes as separating Kalmar and Hiab presents no major issues as far as dealers are concerned. Kalmar intends to invest in providing local support and service, including for its growing range of electric equipment, to support its strategic focus on “sustainable material handling equipment and service” Niiranen concluded.

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