A distinguished heritage

The foundations of a modern success story

Kalmar’s foundations lie deep in Finnish and Swedish engineering expertise, yet our organisation is made up of many great businesses from around the world – all of which have contributed to the knowledge and expertise that got us where we are today.

Our story began with crane manufacturing in the Netherlands in the 19th century and continued with our successful distribution tractor business in the middle of the 20th century in North America. As we entered the 21st century, our focus turned to Asia-Pacific, the region that has become more and more important for the future success of our business.

Our milestones


Ship-to-shore (STS) crane manufacturer Nelcon BV founded in the Netherlands


State Aircraft Factory (later Valmet Ltd) established in Helsinki, Finland. Factory moved to Tampere, Finland in 1936


Suomen Autoteollisuus Ab (later Sisu Ltd) established


First industrial straddle carrier manufactured by Valmet in Tampere


First Valmet lift truck manufactured in Finland


Lidhults Mekaniska Verkstad (LMV) manufactures first forklift truck in Sweden


Nelcon manufactures first mobile gantry crane (yard crane) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands


First aftersales unit established in Tampere.


First terminal tractor manufactured in Ottawa, Kansas, USA.


First forklift exported from Sweden to Austrian sawmill Weinberger.


First sideloader and container lift truck manufactured in Lidhult, Sweden.


First Kalmar machine, a lift truck, delivered to Asia, to Port of Singapore Authority (PSA).


LMV and Ljungbytruck merged into Kalmar LMV in Sweden.


First container straddle carrier manufactured in Tampere.


First container STS crane manufactured in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


First generation of Kalmar reachstackers, called ContChamp, launched.


First fully automated container-stacking crane manufactured for ECT’s Rotterdam terminal.


Important steps in terminal automation were taken, including the launch of the first automated container straddle carrier and the Kalmar Smartrail® system for rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes.


Kalmar delivers what were - and, as of 2014 remain - the world's largest forklifts, with a capacity of 90 tons


Valmet’s material handling business in Finland and Ottawa Trucks in the USA acquired by Sisu, the Finnish state-owned corporation.


Kalmar starts to take shape when Partek Corporation acquires Sisu, which focused on container handling, heavy-lift trucks and terminal tractors. In the same year, Partek acquired a major shareholding in the container handling equipment producer Kalmar Industries Ltd, combining it with Sisu Terminal Systems. Kalmar Industries had been listed on the Swedish Stock Exchange since 1994.


Kalmar rough-terrain reachstacker concept created.


Kalmar Industries becomes wholly owned by Partek Corporation and is delisted.


Kalmar strengthened through acquisitions of Dutch STS crane and straddle-carrier manufacturer Nelcon and maintenance company Groot-Hensen.


Cargotec Corporation formed when KONE Corporation demerges into Cargotec and KONE to be delisted. Cargotec comprises the Hiab, Kalmar and MacGregor businesses.

First fully automated straddle carrier terminal using Kalmar equipment opened by Patrick – part of Asciano – in Brisbane, Australia.


Kalmar cooperates with HHLA in Hamburg, Germany to automate Container Terminal Burchardkai.


Kalmar AutoShuttleTM launched for automated picking, placing and transporting of containers between STS and stacking cranes.

Kalmar electric forklift (5–9 ton) and first-generation hybrid-drive straddle carrier introduced.


State-of-the-art multi-assembly unit opens in Stargard Szczeciński, Poland.


US-based terminal operating systems provider Navis acquired, strengthening Kalmar’s position as the industry forerunner in terminal automation.

Kalmar Ottawa manufactures its 50,000th terminal tractor.

Kalmar launches the EGO cabin for mobile equipment to enhance ergonomics and safety.


Rainbow-Cargotec Industries Co. Ltd (RCI), a joint venture established in China, becomes operational. RCI manufactures Kalmar RTG and STS cranes.

Together with the AutoStrad™ trademark, automation technology related to straddle carriers is transferred from Asciano to Kalmar.

Kalmar SmartPort portfolio introduced, featuring process and equipment automation solutions for terminals.

New technology and competence centre opened in Tampere, focusing on the development of energy-efficient, safe and intelligent machinery and automation solutions.

APM Terminals orders world’s largest quay cranes for the Maasvlakte II terminal expansion project in Rotterdam, to serve modern supersized container vessels.


Cargotec launches new operating model, in which our business and products are called Kalmar. Other independent business areas in the group are Hiab and MacGregor.
Siwertell bulk handling business transferred from MacGregor to Kalmar.
5,000th Kalmar straddle carrier – an electric AutoStradTM – rolls off the assembly line.
Kalmar Gloria, the fifth generation of reachstackers, launched.
Kalmar Care modular service contracts launched.
New-generation Kalmar hybrid straddle and shuttle carriers launched.


The new-generation terminal tractor, Kalmar Ottawa T2, launched in North America.

DP World’s London Gateway terminal in the United Kingdom and Brisbane terminal in Australia opened, featuring Kalmar automated stacking cranes, manned shuttle carriers and the Navis terminal operating system.

The world's biggest industrial reachstacker, Super Gloria, makes a record lift of 103 tons