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Most operators avoid snowstorm disruptions

Keywords: Tags  snowstorm, Midwest, Gerdau Long Steel North America, AK Steel Corp., ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Severstal NA, distributors, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — An unusual early spring snowstorm in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic mostly passed steelmakers by, with production and shipping at most sites in the region remaining normal, sources told AMM March 25.

After the weekend storm marched through the Midwest, leaving record snowfall in St. Louis and up to six inches of snow in parts of Ohio, it took aim at the East Coast. But most steelmakers said they have not experienced any disruption in operations due to the storm.

“(We) are running as planned, and the weather is expected to warm up even more throughout the week,” a spokeswoman for Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Long Steel North America told AMM.

Other steelmakers—including AK Steel Corp., ArcelorMittal USA LLC and Dearborn, Mich.-based Severstal North America Inc.—said they managed to escape weather-related difficulties.

“We’ve seen no impact to production or customer shipments,” a spokesman for West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel said.

“We do not foresee any weather-related issues that would impact our ability to serve our customers,” a spokeswoman for Chicago-based ArcelorMittal echoed. “ArcelorMittal facilities operate on a 24/7, 365-day-per-year schedule. Our employees are well-versed and experienced in managing our operations during harsh weather conditions, and we have the necessary processes in place to do so safely.”

Several distributors and fabricators across the region also said they did not have any issues.

“(There has been) no real impact from the storm as of yet, other than it being a messy day to be a truck driver. Roads are wide open,” said Barry R. Walsh, president and chief operating officer of Bensalem, Pa.-based service center chain Pennsylvania Steel Co. Inc.

But one distributor in Kansas City, Mo., said the snow was complicating shipments and creating delivery problems.

“It came all at once and caused a lot of traffic hassles,” he said. “On the trucking side, it’s just been a nightmare. My dispatcher’s just about to pull his hair out. ... It’ll probably linger through the rest of the week—not so much the snow and ice, but the confusion about who’s getting what where. We’re looking at about a week of confusion to get back on the straight and narrow.”

“Anytime you have major snowstorms, the system slows down,” the president of an Iowa-based trucking company that delivers steel told AMM. “Usually if there’s problems, there might be problems with the small customers.”

However, he said he wasn’t aware of any major slowdowns and expected a quick recovery on the roads. “It’s a really heavy spring wet snow, and as fast as it comes, it goes away almost as quick,” he said.

Corrina Petry, Chicago, and Thorsten Schier, New York, contributed to this story.

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