NEW YORK A number of
inventory-lean steel mills in Asia are said to be bracing for a
possible impact from the ongoing strike at the ports of Los
Angeles and Long Beach in California.
Several U.S. scrap exporters and
buyers for some mills in East Asia said the strike could cause
delays in shipments of containerized ferrous scrap lasting up
to five days, a prospect that has alarmed receiving mills
running low on inventory. For other mills with more material on
hand, the impact will be minimal, sources said.
Dockworkers at seven of eight
container terminals in Los Angeles and as many as three of six
terminals in Long Beach are honoring picket lines by clerical
members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (
amm.com, Nov. 30). The workers contend that
shippers are outsourcing their jobs overseas, although shippers
say thats not the case.
Hopes that weekend talks would
yield positive results were dashed Monday after logistics
companies informed exporters that negotiations had failed.
"In the case of bulk shipments,
we dont have any problem because there were no new
contracts. But on the container side, we are facing a big
problem," a scrap buyer for a South Korean mill said. "Some of
our containers have stopped loading, and we are waiting for the
negotiation to finish."
A buyer for another mill in
South Korea told AMM that the impact would only be
considerable for Asian mills in need of scrap.
"Both inbound and outbound
container transactions are still blocked. Participants in the
logistics market are expecting the labor union will reach an
agreement early this week. Container ocean freight is not
influenced by this strike. The big problem is delivery-time
delay for buyers in Asia," he said.
"Vessels are floating in the
harbor and outside the breakwater waiting. Its a bad
situation," a third source added.
Exporters have sought alternate
storage locations for containers unable to reach the port, as
well as expressed dismay at their inability to pull containers
out of the port.
"Mills are going to have to take
into consideration that things are going to be a week late,
maybe a little more or less. So if theyre running low on
inventories, theyre going to be concerned," a fourth
source said. "But were not panicking at this time. This
strike should have minimal impact on the bottom line."
Meanwhile, the largest
individual steel importer into the Port of Los Angeles,
Fontana, Calif.-based California Steel Industries Inc., which
transports slabs to its facilities for conversion into
flat-rolled products, confirmed the walkout has had "no impact"
on its operations since the ports bulk terminal run by
Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals, Wilmington, Calif., is
covered by a different labor agreement. Other import sources
reported late last week that their arrivals hadnt been
At the Port of Long Beach, a
spokesman said that the strike had not affected its steel
importing activities, since its bulk terminal has remained in
Frank Haflich, Los Angeles,
contributed to this story.