New e-commerce platform targets excess tonnage trading

A new e-commerce venture targeting excess steel capacities that have accrued during the Covid-19 pandemic has been established in Berlin under the name of Vanilla Steel.

The company targets steel producers and processors in Europe that generate excess material and are looking to sell, it says in an announcement sent to Kallanish. It notes that “…excess material has no price tag attached by definition,” and that Vanilla Steel helps suppliers to find a fair market price through online auctions.

The firm provides the details of the winning bidders to the suppliers and the transaction is finalised directly between the supplier and buyer on the pre-agreed terms, the founders say.

“Steel suppliers are under pressure to reinvent themselves in a market full of uncertainty with low demand,” says Alexis Ducros, one of the co-founders. “Covid-19 has accelerated the need for digital sales channels for steel that reduce the cost of selling as well as the cost of inventory.”

The company was launched officially in June, had transactions from the first week onwards and now counts suppliers and buyers across 20 countries in Europe, the statement claims. It highlights that most other online shops belong either to producers or distributors, and that Vanilla Steel is positioned as the only independent digital platform for the European steel sector.

The largest previous independent e-commerce platforms for steel established in Germany, Mapudo and Netzwerk Stahl, later renamed, both folded in spring 2019.