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FANTUZZI: CRANES AND LIFT-TRUCKS IN PORTS ALL OVER THE WORLD


FANTUZZI: CRANES AND LIFT-TRUCKS IN PORTS ALL OVER THE WORLD Nearly all of the world's ports have an Italian connection, due to the dominance of the Fantuzzi-Reggiane Spa group (www.fantuzzi.com or www.reggiane.com) of the goods-handling business across the five continents. The Reggio Emilia-based firm is world leader in this line of business, (covering not only the port equipment market but also the railway freight sector) as it is the only global firm that manifactures a full range of handling machinery for containers, heavy goods and bulk goods. It is not by coincidence, therefore, that the firm exports to 162 different countries.

Today's leadership is the result of a long journey. Everything started in 1960 in the province of Reggio Emilia, where a firm producing zootechnical equipment and agricoltural machinery was set up. In the space of seven years, Luciano Fantuzzi, founder and current President of the group, had the initial insight to move into the manifacturing of industrial machinery. The low margins associated with agriculture did not guarantee sufficient development opportunities for the firm. Therefore in 1967 Fantuzzi started manifacturing side liftrucks for transporting long materials (e.g. metal sections, timber). In its first year, the company manifactured 12 machines, which became 60 in the second, with load capacities varying from three to five tonnes. In 1968 came the first turning point: Luciano Fantuzzi, while visiting a fair in Genoa, saw for the first time a container and the sideloader made by a British firm, with a load capacity up to 32 tonnes, used for handling containers. He immediately thought of producing a similar machine knowing that this kind of innovation would revolutionise the way the transport and goods handling business worked. He overcame the next obstacle by finding a client that needed a loader with a load capacity of up to 50 tonnes. After only six months, the machine was built in the Lentigione plant, in the outskirts of Reggio Emilia. It was capable of piling up to three rows of 40-feet containers. Thanks to this new product, the firm started to receive orders from the likes of Montedison, Fiat and the French Railways. Production duly increased above and beyond the level of ten units a year. 1972 saw the building of a new 4,000 square meter plant, which has now become 40,000, purposefully designed for the manifacturing of heavy goods machinery.

The second turning point for the firm took place in 1981, when a new type of lift-truck capable of piling up to six rows of containers was launched, double what was then thought possible. "None of our competitors", chuckles Mr Fantuzzi, "thought it could be possible, believing it was dangerous and illogical, but we were able to design special machinery that could guarantee a better performance in a shorter timeframe". The innovation was revolutionary, as it suddenly doubled the storage capacity of container terminals and gave Fantuzzi a competitive advantage over its international competitors, which in the following years were either forced to leave the industry, were bought out, or even went bust.

In the 1990's the company grew through external acquisitions: the first deal took place in 1993, with the acquisition from Efim of Officine Reggiane, which produced dock cranes and unloading machinery. "After expanding our product range with Reggiane", explains Mr Fantuzzi, "we completed in 1999 by buying Noell, a German firm specialised in the production of 'straddle carriers'". In the same year Fantuzzi bought from the Finmeccanica group Ansaldo Movimentazione, which made dock cranes for loading and unloading containers and goods.

Today the Fantuzzi-Reggiane group has a turnover of 500 million euros, five manifacturing plants in Italy, Germany and China and a 7,000 square meter site in Genoa where two companies for the engineering and design of automation and control systems are based. And the outlook for the future is excellent. "The market - claims Mr Fantuzzi - keeps on growing, at a rate of 8-9% a year, which is expected to last for the coming years, at least according to estimates. It is mainly due to the boom in trading with Eastern Asia, but there are positive signals also from Africa and South America".

The Fantuzzi-Reggiane product line includes: Ship-to-shore (Sts) dock cranes; Mobile-harbour-cranes (Mhc); Rail mounted gantry cranes (Rmg); Rubber-tyred gantry cranes (Rtg); lifttrucks for loaded or empty containers; reach-stackers for loaded or empty containers; straddle-carriers for loaded or empty containers; pneumatic cranes for unloading cereals, coal and bulk minerals.
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