Road freight limitations worry German steel industry

Road-bound steel transport faces increasing difficulty with obtaining permits for large loads, say Germany’s main steel federations, WV Stahl (mills) and WSM (fabricators).

Transports totalling more than 40 tonnes – including the weight of the vehicle – need a permit of exemption, which is increasingly questioned by the authorities, according to WV Stahl expert for transportation issues Achim Beerheide.

“The argument often goes that coils can be smaller, and lighter,” which is not pragmatic, he says. “Entire process chains from the mills to the fabricators are laid out for big coil sizes. With smaller coils, the production facilities cannot operate efficiently, which means losses in capacity and quality, and extra costs,” he tells Kallanish.

Moreover, splitting coils onto two trucks also means more emissions and more trucks on the roads. In principle, WV Stahl favours transportation via railways. But this is not an overall solution, given that many companies do not have a rail connection, Beerheide says.

A rebar stockholder manager on the Rhine describes the problem of establishing a rail connection. “Our company is lucky to have a rail connection,” he says. “But in my previous company I tried to establish one for three years, and that faced so many costs and so many requirements that I just gave up in the end.”