The impact of Katrina on metal stamping is just starting to be recognized …
In Pittsburgh, the nation’s second largest inland port, only about 7 percent of the 40 million tons of material that came through the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers last year was from Louisiana.
But that 2.7 million tons of mainly raw materials was concentrated in the chemical, steel and petroleum industries, which are now casting a nervous eye on progress in New Orleans.
‘We’re like everyone else. We’re trying to gather information, but information is hard to come by,’ said Greg Wilkinson, spokesman for NOVA Chemicals, which has a manufacturing plant in Monaca, about 22 miles west of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River.
Already several days ago Bloomberg was reporting Orders for steel sheet, whose price has risen nearly 20 percent in a month partly because of the storm, are climbing because distributors fear that the port’s closing will lead to shortages, said Chris Olin, a senior analyst for Longbow Research, of Independence, Ohio, in a report. Coffee addicts will be saddened to know that it is also effected (up 10%).
Companies, farmers race to re-route goods. New Orleans plays a larger role in the lives of U.S. consumers than they may know. More than 6,000 ocean vessels loaded with steel, coffee, rubber, grain and manufactured goods pass though its port each year.
Zinc, used in a number of plating processes and also in galvanizing steel, is effected. The London Metals Exchange shut down trading in the metal.
New Orleans accounts for about half of the inventories of zinc that can be traded on the LME and about a quarter of the worldâ€™s total stockpiles. (about 225,000 tonnes are stored in New Orleans). See also this article.
Another posting got lost somehow. Maybe Katrina ate it.
Steel Dynamics Inc. said after Friday’s closing bell that it has informed its customers that it’s suspending order entry for cold rolled, galvanized and painted sheet products because of a hydrogen gas supply issue.
Steel Dynamics said it was informed by Air Products Corp. , its hydrogen gas supplier, that it would be unable to meet Steel Dynamics’ immediate supply needs because of a New Orleans facility outage due to Hurricane Katrina, as well as a planned two-month shutdown of its plant in Sarnia, Ontario.
Production of hot rolled and hot rolled pickled and oiled coils will not be affected, the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based company said.