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Latest storm sidelines metal plants

Keywords: Tags  winter storm, metal plants, Defense Logistics Agency, David Hannah, Reliance Steel, Alumet Supply, Infra-Metals, Pierce Aluminum Petersen Aluminum

CHICAGO — Between the shutdown of federal government offices, thousands of canceled airline flights and power outages affecting up to a half million customers, the latest winter storm caused difficulties for scores of metal operations Feb. 12-13 across the Mid-South, Southeast and into the Mid-Atlantic region.

All federal offices in the Washington area were closed Feb. 13, including the Defense Logistics Agency’s Strategic Materials offices in Fort Belvoir, Va., and its three depots. As a result, the agency extended the deadline to accept quotes for its ferromanganese negotiated tender.

Infra-Metals Co., a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., closed its Langhorn, Pa., and Baltimore, Md., service centers Thursday. "I don’t think anyone showed up there. Calls are being forward to Petersburg, Va. We are open for business here," a company administrator said.

"All of our operations in the affected areas are closed, and those in the path (of the storm) will close depending on the severity," David H. Hannah, chairman and chief executive officer of Reliance Steel & Aluminum, told AMM via e-mail. "We are concerned for the safety of our people on the roads and in the plants, so we are closed. I expect that missed deliveries will be caught up when the conditions allow."

At Direct Metals Co. LLC, Kennesaw, Ga., "we are operating, but remotely. People are telecommuting," one employee told AMM.

"We shut down all day (Wednesday)," a spokeswoman at Alumet Supply Inc.’s branch office in Atlanta said. The Parsippany, N.J.-based company reopened Feb. 13 but only three people made it into work, so production and shipping were halted. "We are getting prepared for (Friday)," she added.

"We were closed (Wednesday) but we are moving right along (Thursday)," a shipping department worker at metal roofing and siding company Petersen Aluminum Corp. in Kennesaw, Ga., said. "There may be some delays getting (material) out of Atlanta, but we are loading (trucks) and inbound loads are arriving."

Pierce Aluminum Co. Inc.’s Chesapeake, Va., branch remained open, but "we are backed up due to weather-related issues," a spokesman for the Franklin, Mass.-based finished aluminum product distributor and manufacturer said. "It started with the snow in Georgia and it’s compounding across to New England. (Backups) will likely continue the next few days."

Steel Services Inc. closed its Ashland and Roanoke plants in Virginia, but the Norfolk and Salisbury branches stayed open, general manager Michael Macaluso told AMM. There were no shipments in or out, and production was down at the shuttered facilities, but he expected all operations to resume Feb. 14.

Steel Dynamics Inc.’s Roanoke Steel division remained open Feb. 13. "There are employees here, but not many. We are running the melt shop and the mill. Shipping is also moving," a security officer said.

At Dillon Supply Co., Raleigh, N.C., "we recalled all of our trucks. We are not doing any outbound shipping and we won’t be receiving either," a company manager said.

General Steel Inc., Macon, Ga., couldn’t send any trucks north of Atlanta Feb. 12 and 13 because of ice, and faced minor delays moving loads in other directions. "Most customers in Atlanta shut down in advance of the weather rather than repeat what happened two weeks ago," a spokesman said.

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