LONG BEACH, Calif. An
upturn in West Coast construction of warehouses and
distribution centers is contributing to rising steel demand in
the market served by the Port of Los Angeles, the regions
largest point for import arrivals, according to a port
Marcel Van Dijk, business
development manager for the port, expects steel imports to rise
another 7 to 10 percent in 2013 after increasing 10 percent
Steel arrivals in breakbulk
cargoes totaled 2.2 million tonnes in 2012, Van Dijk told the
American Institute of International Steel (AIIS) on Jan. 24. He
also estimated that some 700,000 tonnes of steel mill products
arrived in containers, up from 560,000 tonnes in 2011.
About 1.2 million tonnes of last
years breakbulk imports were composed of slab, up from
about 1.1 million tonnes in 2011. They were overwhelmingly
designated for flat-rolled producer California Steel Industries
Inc. (CSI), Fontana, Calif.
The rise in imports last year
represented a continuing recovery from the recent low of less
than 1 million tonnes unloaded in the recession year of 2009,
but they remain far below the high of about 4 million tonnes in
But a pickup in the construction
of industrial warehouses and distribution centers associated
with e-commerce and information technology are helping to boost
steel demand in the regional market, Van Dijk said.
About 13 million square feet of
warehouse and distribution space is under construction in the
area that has the most impact on the ports steel imports,
with approximately 11 million square feet in the outlying
Riverside and San Bernardino counties and the remainder in Los
Angeles County, he noted.
For example, a
1-million-square-foot "fulfillment center" was dedicated in the
fourth quarter of last year by the worlds largest online
retailer, Amazon.com Inc., in the city of San Bernardino.
Van Dijk later pointed out to
AMM that these facilities consume not only the steel
long products normally associated with construction, but also
the flat-rolled steel used for warehouse siding and roof