Low river levels prolong German
steel scrap market's transport woes

(representative image)
20.11.2018 − 

Low water levels in Germany’s rivers remain are the dominating issue on the ferrous scrap market. Although there was some rain again recently, river levels have risen only slightly so far. In the south of Germany rivers are still not navigable for barges; further north the ships can at best be partially loaded.

As a result, the competition to secure rail transport capacity is has grown still fiercer. The availability of wagons is described as very bad; frequently cargo space is to be got only through "dirty tricks", a market insider told EUWID. The only remaining transport route is the roads, where lorry capacity is also tight and prices have gone through the roof. Ultimately, recycling companies are sometimes being forced to store more material temporarily or – to the extent possible – to cut back on the amount of scrap they accept.

 "It's just a drama," a scrap trader said summarising the situation. "Everybody's fighting for cargo space." This also applies to the steel mills, which are also having problems transporting their finished products. Badische Stahlwerke, a rebar producer based in Kehl in Germany’s southwest, is reported to have temporarily shut down one of its two electric arc furnaces for this reason. The mill now had all lines running again, but this would be the case only until mid-December, when the major winter revision is scheduled. At other German steel mills, operators were considering bringing planned shutdowns forward due to the logistics problems.

The full report on the German ferrous market including the price table appears in issue 24/2018 of EUWID Recycling & Waste Management on 28 November 2018. Online subscribers can access it here immediately: Steel Scrap Germany

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