November 3, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Alabama Steel Exports Growing, ThyssenKrupp Takes The Lead

It seems Alabama’s steel producers are staying busy exporting to countries like Mexico, South America, Egypt and India, according to an Alabama Live article. With domestic demand slacking and the weak U.S. dollar, American steel is more attractive to foreign countries right now.

ThyssenKrupp Steel USA is taking advantage of current market conditions, as "Export is part of our business plan," said Bob Holt, vice president of sales for ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, which processes carbon steel in Calvert. "It fluctuates based on the opportunities that are out there."

The push into exports is driven by excess supply in the domestic market, which is pushing domestic prices down. Steel mills are trying to get more money for their products, making the export business the more lucrative market.

This doesn’t mean steel imports are nonexistent as over 20% of steel used is still imported. However, exports have grown, up 17% in July from last year according to the Commerce Department.

“Excluding the semi-finished slabs that ThyssenKrupp is importing from Brazil for the Calvert plant, the Port of Mobile is now exporting more steel than it is importing, said Jimmy Lyons, director of the Alabama State Port Authority,” according to the article.

The port is expecting to double the tons of steel it’s handling this year, from 500,000 tons of steel in a typical year to more than 1 million tons this year. The article said “Census Bureau figures show Mobile exported 16,190 metric tons of flat-rolled carbon steel in July, making it the nation's No. 1 exporting port for that variety of steel.”

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