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Arctic front stops some metals businesses cold

Keywords: Tags  scrap, service centers, winter weather, metal deliveries, Dave Rumer, Behr Iron & Metal, Hanley Steel, Caterpillar Rey Mashayekhi


NEW YORK — Extreme weather conditions, particularly across the Midwest, were sparking some service disruptions and closures, industry sources told AMM Jan. 6, as much of the United States and Canada was bracing for a cold front that threatened record-low temperatures.

Scrap metal sources in the Midwest and Ohio Valley cited difficulties with equipment due to the cold weather, while there were reports of major producers having to shut down operations.

"The weather is causing problems for us. ... We can’t shear at all, and the baler is running very slowly. Cranes are having trouble as well," one Cincinnati-based scrap recycler said.

"(We’re) having a difficult time with equipment. ... We are closed except for handling factories that we are obligated to handle," according to a scrap source in central Indiana, which was under a state of emergency due to the extreme conditions.

"We’re spending most of our time moving snow, and a number of the industrial accounts aren’t running today because it’s so cold. This is the perfect storm, literally, with the low temperatures and the snow storm. If (the severe weather conditions) go on long enough, it’s going to really affect the flow (of scrap)," Dave Rumer, vice president of Behr Iron & Metal Co.’s Peoria, Ill., operations, told AMM.

The weather conditions could significantly cut down on the number of shipping days for the month, he said. "Now it’s probably going to be a 15-day month if we’re lucky."

A source at one Peoria-based service center said the company wasn’t sending shipments out Jan. 6 as a result of the weather, while a source at Hanley Steel Inc., also in Peoria, said the company had been unaffected.

Other scrap and service center sources across the Midwest noted little to no disruptions, other than absent personnel and a potential slowdown in customer flow.

"We’ve got a few people that haven’t made it in to work and a few customers that have experienced the same, so things are slow. The phones are quiet, let’s put it that way," one Chicago-area service center source said of the severe weather’s impact on operations.

"We’re operating normally. We’re shipping, getting trucks in, getting trucks out," one Ontario-based scrap metal source said. "Our plant will still run. Whether our trucks will be running because we can’t get them started, I don’t know."

Meanwhile, "various facilities" of Peoria-based equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., have been closed "due to the extreme weather," the company said Sunday evening. "Our manufacturing plants in East Peoria, Ill., closed overnight (Jan. 5) and first shift (Jan. 6), and our engine plant in Lafayette, Ind., is closed ... as well."

ArcelorMittal USA LLC said it's facilities remain operational.

"ArcelorMittal facilities operate on a 24/7, 365-day per year schedule," a spokeswoman told AMM in an email Jan. 6. 
"We do not foresee any significant weather-related issues that would impact our ability to serve our customers."

Thorsten Schier, Catherine Ngai and Daniel Fitzgerald, New York, contributed to this story.


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