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Cold front continues to belt Midwest metal ops

Jan 07, 2014 | 06:28 PM |

Tags  scrap, distributors, producers, weather, closures, delays, Sapa Group, Rey Mashayekhi

NEW YORK — The blast of Arctic air that brought the coldest temperatures in more than two decades to the Midwest has caused numerous operational shutdowns and delayed shipments.

Scrap metal operations have been hit hard across the region, while producers and distributors alike have been forced to close amid subzero temperatures.

"Our outdoor operation has come to a halt," one Cleveland-based scrap dealer told AMM. "We are doing nothing outdoor. We’re receiving scrap, but everything has seemed to come to a halt. Just trying to run the equipment is difficult.

"We owe material to a couple (of) plants, and we got two loads out (Jan. 6) and they didn’t make it," the dealer said. "Nobody from the plants have gotten back to us. So in other words, they weren’t surprised."

One Chicago-based scrap broker said shredders in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa are "barely running" because of the weather. "There are some pretty big shred appetites in the Midwest that will not be able to get what they need for sure this month," he said.

A source at a Midwest pipe distributor said his company was unable to open Jan. 6 due to the weather and was subsequently backlogged.

Aluminum products maker Sapa Group said two of its facilities in Indiana were shut because of a state of emergency that was declared in the Hoosier state in response to the extreme cold. A spokeswoman for the Oslo, Norway-based company said the Elkhart, Ind., plant was down for 36 hours but had resumed operations Jan. 7, while its plant in Connersville, Ind., was closed for 18 hours Jan. 6 because trucks could not get into or out of the facility.

Several plants also were impacted by higher-than-usual absenteeism. "In some locations ... it’s difficult for employees to get to work," the Sapa spokesman said.

Michael Cowden, Chicago, and Lisa Gordon, Pittsburgh, contributed to this story.

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