Italian plate end users face supply challenges: Fincantieri

Consumers of heavy plate in Italy and Europe are facing significant supply challenges since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. David Bernardi, head of procurements at Fincantieri, a leading Italian industrial group, explains that alternative supply is being arranged but challenges remain related to safeguards and domestic European production.

In Italy, one of the main impacts of the war in Ukraine has been the stopping of slab imports from Ukraine. According to Siderweb data, in 2021 the country imported from Ukraine over 1.9 million tonnes of slab to be used by local re-rollers. Almost 80% of this was used by Metinvest’s Italian units, which supply heavy plate and other flat rolled products, Kallanish notes.

“We have had a strategic relationship with Metinvest for the supply of heavy plates for some time now,” Bernardi observed during a webinar this week. “Their plate mill in San Giorgio di Nogare is strategic for our supply and we are now trying to give them all the possible support to diversify slab supply and continue working in partnership.”

“We also started during recent years to diversify our plate supply, using our global network. Since last year, we have active supply channels from South Korea, India and Brazil. We are also considering opening supply channels with the US,” Bernardi added.

Amid these supply challenges, EU safeguard measures are seen as a burden for industrial groups in Europe. “Today, the safeguard measures for our sector make no sense, they only penalise the industrial system in Europe and Italy,” the executive said.

Domestic supply is not of much help either. The largest integrated steelworks in Taranto, formerly Ilva, is still struggling to boost output and relaunch its industrial activities. “Ilva used to be an important supplier for our group. We have restarted working with them since the Italian authorities entered into the group’s management,” Bernardi concluded.

Emanuele Norsa Italy