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CMC rejuggles strategy with idled shredder

Keywords: Tags  auto shredder, steelmaker, metals recycler, Commercial Metals, CMC, Newell Recycling of San Antonio, scrap, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Commercial Metals Co. (CMC) appears to have recently idled one of its three Texas shredders and to be shipping the feed material directly to a shredder on site at one of its mills.

The Irving, Texas-based steelmaker and metals recycler has stopped running the Vinton shredder, but continues to buy material at the location. The material is reportedly then being transported 600 miles via rail to the company’s Seguin melting operation, also in Texas, which is equipped with a shredder and is capable of melting 1 million tons of raw steel annually.

The company didn’t respond to a request for comment as of Dec. 20.

One supplier said that a large baler has been brought to Vinton to prepare the feedstock it purchases there for shipment to Seguin.

"It makes perfect sense to me. Having a shredder at the mill gives you a huge advantage, and all I have to do is rail and ship the material," according to a source that supplies the company. The transfer eliminates handling costs in Vinton, and the mill consumes the scrap so there is no outbound freight on processed scrap.

The company also owns shredders elsewhere in the state, in Corpus Christi and Dallas. The company also had a shredder in Beaumont, but it was dismantled last year, according to numerous sources. Beaumont is now used as a collection facility to provide feed for the Seguin mill.

CMC’s annual report notes the company has three Texas shredders, which further suggests the Beaumont shredder is now gone.

A number of sources pointed to persistant, unconconfirmed reports that the Vinton shredder will be dismantled and rebuilt on the property of the CMC Phoenix rebar mill in Arizona, which has an annual capacity rating of 280,000 tons. However, CMC has no shredder or recycling assets in Arizona, according to its website.

Original plans called for installing a shredder at Phoenix, according to a CMC source.

The Vinton shredder is a 6,000-horsepower Prolerizer that is at least 20 years old but is outfitted with a downstream system that was upgraded after a fire about five years ago, the source said.

CMC might upgrade the Prolerizer and "marry" it to the Vinton downstream, the source added.

"This could be part of their strategy to install a shredder and build up a network of suppliers there," a second Texas recycler said.

The CMC source said that it is part of the company’s plan to focus more on the steelmaking side of the business and use its scrap assets only to feed its mills.

Separately, CMC recently sold its Laredo, Texas, scrapyard after shutting it down Aug. 29. An inquiry by AMM revealed the phone number at that location was unchanged, and a receptionist there acknowledged the facility is now under new ownership.

Numerous sources also suggested that CMC is in the process of buying Newell Recycling of San Antonio LP, with plans to shut down this shredder and send the material to Seguin.

A Newell executive said that any comment on the matter had to come from CMC.

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