Salzgitter partners with freight carrier HGK to develop inland shipping for steelmaking needs

HGK Shipping and German steelmaker Salzgitter AG plan to enhance their cooperation and jointly promote and develop sustainable logistics concepts for inland waterways, Salzgitter said Aug. 15.

With Salzgitter’s reliance on inland waterways set to increase as the transition to low-carbon steelmaking progresses, the German steel company will enhance its partnership with HGK Shipping, Europe’s leading inland waterway shipping company, to ramp up its inland cargo shipping volumes to above 1 million mt/year.

HGK Shipping, like Salzgitter native to Lower Saxony, has a fleet of 350 company and chartered vessels and transports 43 million mt/year of freight.

Two subsidiaries of Salzgitter — steel coil manufacturer Salzgitter Flachstahl and distribution company DEUMU-Deutsche Erz- und Metall-Union — have signed memorandums of understanding with HGK Shipping outlining their commitment to developing and establishing low-emission logistics chains as a norm.

Both subsidiaries are aiming to make much greater use of inland waterway shipping in particular, and their co-operation with HGK will focus on setting up paired transport operations.

The aim is to prevent empty runs through generating return loads and optimizing the use of available shipping space by combining transport operations, for instance.

Salzgitter Flachstahl specializes in making flat steel products for vehicle and pipe manufacturers and construction, and DEUMU recycles scrap steel, metals and alloys and acts as a trader for them.

The two are connected to the inland waterway system at numerous sites, with the result being over 1 million mt/year of the Salzgitter group’s steel is transported via European waterways. The steel company believes in it can grow these shipping operations further if the right conditions are in place.

In May, Salzgitter contracted a consortium comprising Tenova, Danieli and DSD Steel Group to build a 2 million mt/year direct reduction plant at Flachstahl, which takes it a step closer to low-CO2 steelmaking.

The first stage of the Salzgitter Low CO2 Steel, or SALCOS, project will go into operation in late 2025 and consist of the direct reduction plant, an electric arc furnace and a 100-MW electrolysis plant for hydrogen production.

With the EAF up and running, the currently blast furnace-based Flachstahl will convert into a mill smelting direct reduced iron, but also steel scrap, hence why it is looking to develop logistics for shipping in significant scrap volumes.

“One key element [of SALCOS as a circular economy project] will involve using scrap to obtain crude steel [and] … having sustainable logistics operations for this very important secondary raw material,” DEUMU Managing Director Sandrina Sieverdingbeck said in a statement Aug. 15.

Author Katya Bouckley