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Postponed automation decisions affect Kalmar’s 2020 figures

Postponed automation decisions affect Kalmar’s 2020 figures
Mika Vehviläinen, CEO of Cargotec

Kalmar’s revenue fell by 11% in 2020 as customers postponed decisions on port automation solutions while demand for smaller cargo handling equipment in industrial segments decreased, owing to the overall drop in containerised trade.

However, the manufacturer noted that the pandemic has further strengthened interest in automation and demand for mobile equipment increased towards the end of the year.

Sales for 2020 amounted to €1.5bn (US$1.8bn) compared to the €1.7bn (US$2bn) whilst operating profit plummeted by 60% to €62m (US$75m). Meanwhile, the company’s order book fell by 20% to €842m (US$1bn).

Cargotec, parent company of Kalmar, increased its R&D investments by 3% in 2020 and was particularly focused on themes supporting climate targets such as digitalisation, electrification and automation.

Cargotec’s CEO Mika Vehviläinen said: “Market uncertainty affected customers’ decision making, especially in the second and third quarter and our orders received decreased by 16% from the previous year.

“Customers considered carefully their larger investments in, for example, port automation and new vessels. On the other hand, the pandemic has further strengthened interest in automation. However, it is still too early to
speculate when customers start making investment decisions.”

Notable orders from last year include 20 hybrid shuttle carriers to the Port of Virginia and 42 next-generation diesel-electric straddle carriers to Maher Terminals in New Jersey.

During the year, a containerised ChargePod solution and energy-saving guarantee for electrically powered forklift trucks were introduced to the market while Kalmar also launched a new range of G-Generation top loaders with improved hydraulics, fuel consumption and operator ergonomics.

“Year 2021 will mark a considerable milestone for Kalmar as its entire portfolio becomes available as electrically powered,” added Vehviläinen.

In May, Cargotec introduced its climate ambition to be a 1.5°C company and, as part of this commitment, it aims to reduce the CO2 emissions of raw material sourcing and product use phase by at least 50% from the 2019 levels by 2030.

Cargotec’s operating profit dropped 60% in 2020 as sales dropped 11% from just over €3.7bn (US$2.5bn) to €4.4bn (US$3.9bn).

At the end of 2020, Cargotec’s general meeting approved a merger with Finnish equipment manufacturer Konecranes. The implementation of the merger is subject to obtaining the necessary approvals from the competition authorities.