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Distributors reopen as electricity, staff return

Keywords: Tags  Service centers, Swepco Tube Corp, Tim Schlichting, Hurricane Sandy, Reliance Steel & Aluminum, David H. Hannah, Marmon/Keystone Corp, Norma E. Gottschalk Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — Service centers in some areas hard hit by Hurricane Sandy opened shop with a reduced work force Wednesday, but it may still take time for some distributors to see their shipment levels return to normal, executives said.

“Things are a bit disheveled here at the moment,” Swepco Tube Corp. vice president Tim Schlichting told AMM in an e-mail Wednesday. “Power loss in the region is significant (with) so many trees and power lines down.”

Some of Clifton, N.J.-based Swepco’s employees who live on the Jersey Shore “have suffered significant water damage to their properties,” he said. “Our plant, surprisingly, has power today, so we are up and running. We have somewhat of a reduced workforce as there is almost no public transportation running yet.”

Those Swepco employees who were able to report to work are busy “trying to respond to three days of inquiries from the rest of the country,” Schlichting added.

A board member for the New York chapter of the Metals Service Center Institute he said he had not heard of any serious damage at local distributors, but said such news may be hindered by spotty communication systems.

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. chairman and chief executive officer David H. Hannah confirmed that his company’s facilities avoided the worst of the storm.

“All of our people are safe and there is no significant damage to our facilities,” Hannah said in an e-mail late Tuesday.

“Some power has been restored but we are not shipping due to customers being impacted. It will take at least a few days until we are back to normal levels,” he said.

Marmon/Keystone Corp.’s plants were also undamaged, president Norman E. Gottschalk Jr. said, but power outages affected its Bushwick Metals Inc. operations in South Plainfield, N.J., and Bridgeport, Conn. The latter location has since restarted, Gottshalk said Wednesday.

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