Zaporizhstal eyes Polish demand amid disrupted supply

Ukraine’s Zaporizhstal, a flat steel mill partially owned by Metinvest, has started the production of a new type of hot rolled coil for Polish customers.

Clients from Poland have ordered HRC in coils each weighing at least 9 tonnes, according to Ukrainian media reports.

Previously, two coils were welded together to fulfil such an order. Thanks to new production lines, this is no longer necessary and saves on packaging and transportation. the enterprise claims.

The firm is thus looking to capitalise on Polish demand for HRC, the supply of which has been disrupted by much-reduced Ukrainian production and the EU’s ban on Russian steel, Kallanish notes. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus together accounted for 25% of overall Polish steel imports in 2021, meaning the war in Ukraine has forced buyers there to seek alternative suppliers.

Zaporizhstal produced less steel on-year in April, owing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with year-to-date output correspondingly down (see Kallanish passim). The plant produced just 68,900 tonnes of pig iron in April, down 81% on-year, 73,600t of crude steel, down 78%, and 65,700t of finished products, down 76.7%.

January-April output of pig iron fell by 45.1% on-year to 830,200t, of crude steel by 45.8% to 721,000t and of finished products by 44.1% to 630,100t.

At the end of March, the mill partially resumed output at its cold-rolling operations – after previously entering hot conservation mode – for subsequent product dispatch to the European market. Early April saw the blowing in of blast furnaces No.3 and No.4. Consequently, April saw Zaporizhstal working at around 50% capacity utilisation.

Metinvest suspended all production at the mill on 2 March due to the intensification of fighting following the Russian invasion, also idling its Zaporizhya-based coke plant Zaporizhkoks (see Kallanish passim).

Last year, Zaporizhstal produced 4.5 million tonnes of pig iron, 3.8mt of crude and 3.2mt of finished steel, all roughly flat on-year.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria