At the end of 2005 Kalmar Industries established its own subsidiary company in India through the acquisition of 51% of Indlift, which had been the agent for Kalmar products in India since 2000. The previous owner of Indlift, Vijay Kumar, is now Managing Director of Kalmar India.

Since the acquisition, Kalmar has been busy planning the expansion of the company’s service offering in India by increasing its sales and service network to include port cities such as Chennai, Cochin and Kolkata and by employing additional technicians.

Explains Mr Kumar, ‘Our focus is on strengthening the service department to meet the growing demands of the Indian market. We plan to incorporate more locations, hire more sales & service engineers, provide training programs, and strengthen the spare parts supply to be able to support the growing number of customers and the machines in the field. The future looks very bright and we would like to play a very dominant role in this growing market.’

The strategy is well under way. Prior to Kalmar’s acquisition, Indlift employed 18 people at offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Vizag and Bangalore. Today, staff numbers have increased considerably both in the offices and onsite. The total number of office-based employees now stands at almost 20 while there are also roughly 20 service engineers operating around the country and a further 125 subcontracted engineers working with customers such as Gateway Terminals India (GTI).

Jouni Pitkanen, Vice President Service for Kalmar India, is in Mumbai to assist with the development of the service organization and the continuous recruitment of service engineers from various parts of the country. These new technicians must complete a training program in the Mumbai office before representing Kalmar Services in their respective regions.

Kalmar has a strong presence in India with around 200 machines ’ ranging from RTGs and reachstackers to terminal tractors and FLTs ’ working in the country’s ports and terminals industry. Most recently, Kalmar received an order for six reachstackers with an option of 14 reachstackers from MSC-owned Hind Terminals.

One of Kalmar’s largest Indian contracts came last year when GTI placed an order for 29 E-One RTGs for operation at a new terminal under construction at the Port of Nhava Sheva. The order was a milestone achievement in the global sales of the groundbreaking new E-One ’ Kalmar’s first all-electric RTG, featuring a low-emission diesel engine and electric trolley, wheel turning and spreader.

In recognition of the scale of the GTI order and true to its strong customer-service ethos, Kalmar has seconded numerous project managers and engineering experts from across the world to oversee smooth delivery and erection of the E-One RTGs. Thirteen RTGs are scheduled for delivery by the end of July and the remaining units will be erected by November 15.

Other key projects in India include the delivery of four 32-ton FLTs to Essar Steel ’ one of the country’s largest steel mills ’ and four more similar units to Adani Port Limited. The company has also delivered a total of 30 reachstackers to a range of customers including Speedy, Dewanchan, GTI, Maruti Transports, AAPL, Vikram Integrated Logistics and Gateway Distriparks Limited, which combined its order for 11 units with a comprehensive operations and maintenance contract.

While all this is good news, Kalmar’s renewed commitment to India combined with the country’s growing importance as a major exporter means that the future looks even brighter.

There are several projects presently in place in India to modernize existing ports and establish new facilities. Total container volume for 2005 reached nearly five million teus, continuing the 10% average growth trend of recent years. India’s railway network is also one of the largest in the world, providing a healthy market for inland terminal development. Meanwhile, industrial activities are also developing.

Says Mr Kumar, ‘India is opening up and becoming a key growth market for container and heavy mater