Knauf Interfer, one of Germany’s biggest mill-independent steel distributors, is to close its stockholding site in Dortmund with “immediate effect”, the firm’s spokesperson told Platts on Tuesday. “The closure results from economic reasons,” said the spokesperson, adding that the Knauf Interfer’s management board decided to close the business in late June. The depot offers processing services and stocks quarto plate, round bars and special steels.
“For once, the closure is influenced by bad market development, in particular for the steel products traded at the site,” said the spokesperson, highlighting that the Russia embargo and Ukraine crisis as well as weak demand from the agricultural and construction machine business lowered sales volumes. “On the other hand there is a current regional oversupply by other steel distributors in the Dortmund region,” she said.
The closure is the second shutdown of a steel site in Dortmund, which is located in the Ruhr area, within a year. In summer last year, steelmaker Salzgitter announced to close its sheet piling works Hoesch Spundwand und Profil (HSP).
The shutdown of HSP had an effect on the city’s port, according to the January-June report of port operator Dortmunder Hafen, which cited the steel crisis and closure of HSP as “essential” factors for the drop in steel and iron handling. Container handling of iron and steel dropped by 32% year-on-year to 62,000 metric tons in the January-June period.
— Laura Varriale