A particularly successful Stainless Steel Day

On 8 June 2017, nearly 200 people took part in the event organised in Poznań by the Stainless Steel Association. It attracted representatives of major companies from the Polish and European industry.

"The past 20 years have seen amazing development on the stainless steel market," said John Rowe, Secretary-General of the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) and special guest at Stainless Steel Day (SSD). According to ISSF estimates, the rate of expansion of stainless steel production is significantly exceeding the growth rate of most coloured metals and is higher than the rise in global GNP. This positive trend should continue in the future.

SSD participants pointed out that 2016 was a breakthrough year for the sector. "The second half of last year was the start of a good time for the global, European and Polish stainless steel industries. Prices began to rise for the first time in a long while, and the growth in demand is stable, especially in our country; as a result companies are seeing better results and gaining profits again," said Andrzej Michalski-Stępkowski, head of the Stainless Steel Association.

The results of the three biggest players – Outokumpu, Aperam and Acerinox – have all improved considerably. Apart from the good situation on the market, this is also a result of restructuring processes which have taken place.

Maciej Gwóźdź, member of the management board of Outokumpu Europe, presented his experience in this field in Poznań. This leading stainless steel producer is implementing a strategy aimed at improving the product offer and getting closer to the customer, including by significantly reducing delivery times.

During SSD, there was a lot of time dedicated to the dangers which are still present on the market. The largest number of question marks appear with regard to China, which now supplies over half the world's stainless steel production. Ignacy Morawski, economist and owner of Spotdata, indicated the threat of that country's economic collapse caused by credit expansion and excessive debt increase. Przemysław Zwoliński, head of Aperam Stainless Services & Solutions Poland, also had a lot to say about China, arguing that expansion by its manufacturers could lead to them dominating the market. This could have very negative consequences not only for steel plants from other parts of the world, including Europe, but also for distribution companies as well as end customers.

The policy protecting the EU's internal market against dishonest suppliers, including from Asia, was discussed by Magdalena Chmielewska-Cholewa of EY consulting firm. She considers that Brussels' anti-dumping policy is currently relatively liberal compared, for example, with that conducted by the US. It can be expected to become stricter in the future.  

Stainless Steel Day was also an opportunity to examine purely technological matters. "We have to promote new uses for stainless steels," stressed John Rowe, indicating the role of domestic distributors and industry associations. The ISSF secretary general dedicated a large part of his speech to opportunities for new applications of stainless steel, for example in the construction of water-pipe networks.

There are already such cases. Three Asian metropolises - Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei - have decided to reconstruct their water mains systems, replacing the distribution pipes which are generally plastic with stainless steel pipes. In the case of Tokyo, the multi-billion euro project is practically finished, while in Korea Seoul has so far replaced 91% of its pipes with stainless steel. The basic criterion for both projects was not the initial costs, but the desire to reduce losses caused by leakages. And it worked.

More information: www.stalenierdzewne.pl

Published 29/06/2017 09:31:14 Last Modified 29/06/2017 09:32:05

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