Green trend could restructure business relations

The ambition of many industries, especially in the EU, to offer low-emission products could create new business connections between end users and steel producers.

Processor companies may increasingly seek relations with upstream steelmakers to make sure they get low-carbon steel and secure volumes they would normally receive from intermediate sources. “Quite a number of companies are coming knocking that we have not served before,” a source from a steelmaking company told Kallanish on the sidelines of the ecoMetals day in Düsseldorf last week.

The electric arc furnace mill uses most steel it makes for in-house rolling, but also releases a six-digit tonnage to the market, for example for further hot-rolling of billet and slab at other operations. Recently, it received requests from cold-roller companies as well, which is a relatively new twist. “On the EAF route, our steel comes with lower emissions than that from the blast furnace route, which is attractive to downstream companies that normally buy from our customers,” he says.

Cold-rollers of strip to a large extent serve automotive and other sophisticated industries, where low-emission products are gaining increasing relevance. This is partly because of OEMs’ own ambitions, partly for a greener image, and partly because their customers increasingly ask for it. As a consequence, processors are now trying to contract volumes from primary sources, before the product gets forwarded to the first rolling stage.

Christian Koehl Germany