Here are five key points to keep in mind when moving steel throughout the Americas region.
Producing and distributing steel requires a very complex and extensive transportation process. Using a combination of ocean, rail, and truck, companies can effectively deliver their finished products to customers without any unexpected bottlenecks, challenges, or safety issues.
In Germany, for example, DB Schenker Rail and the steel industry jointly optimize their co-operation and develop constructive solutions to deal with differences – in numerous top-level discussions, regular meetings, and ad-hoc working groups. Other logistics providers are committing themselves to rail transport for the steel industry, and thus contribute significantly towards a more efficient logistics system in the country, according to Stahl-Zentrum.
Similar processes are being used in the Americas. The U.S. is the world’s top steel importer, according to CNN, and the value of steel shipped into the U.S. was just over $29 billion in 2017.
Nearly 17% of steel imported into the U.S. comes from Canada, with South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, and China also being major exporters of steel to the U.S.
5 Key Considerations
Here are the key points that steel producers should keep in mind when moving steel throughout the Americas:
- Work with a reliable logistics provider that has experience in the sector. DB Schenker’s Industrial Supply Chain Management Division, works with a wide range of industries along the industrial value chain, including transport solutions for raw materials to spare parts logistics for engine manufacturers. Using global transportation and expertise in contract logistics, we can optimize your supply chain from end-to-end. Based on our industry know-how and proven best practices, we create lean, stable, and safe processes. Our goal is to provide the support you need to achieve your goals and to gain competitive advantage within your industry sector.
- Factor in both sides of the supply chain. Highly reliant on good transportation, shipping, and logistics services, the steel industry needs raw materials (e.g., coal and iron ore) for production, and it also needs to be able to transport its oversized metal sheets, parts, and final products via rail, truck, ship, and/or barge. To ensure that the supply chain runs smoothly, steel producers need logistics providers that can manage both their upstream and downstream activities.
- Combine efficient shipping with reliable carriers. By combining efficient processes with reliable carriers, steel producers can develop effective transportation plans that ensure that their bulky, often-oversized products get to their destinations in a timely, safe manner. Automotive manufacturers, for example, often demand just-in-time (JIT) delivery in order to meet their own production schedules. One missed delivery deadline, for example, can bring an entire assembly line to a grinding halt. Or, one delivery that arrives at its final destination too early can create bottlenecks, traffic congestion, and other customer service issues.
- Use technology to your advantage. Any company with trading partners is focused on supply chain visibility right now, and steel companies are no exception. Sensitive to transportation costs, delivery timing, and the complexity of their loads, these organizations are using technology and digitization to gain better visibility of their freight as it moves along the road, rail, or waterways. Using a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS), for example, companies (and their customers) can get real-time shipment visibility as the steel moves throughout the Americas, thus allowing all supply chain partners to plan accordingly.
- Use the right equipment. An intermediate product that has to get to its destination in perfect condition—ready to process and use in a wide range of end products—steel requires special handling as it’s transported via road, water, or rail. Look for a logistics partner and/or carrier that can provide safe and reliable transport using roll trailers that can manage very heavy cargo or bolsters, which are designed to transport smaller, breakbulk goods (which aren’t meant to be stowed on the deck of a vessel).
Loading, transporting, stowing, and delivering steel is a complex task that should be left up to the experts. By working with a reliable logistics provider that has experience with this type of cargo, steel producers (and users) can rest easy knowing that the goods will arrive on time and in the right condition to be used to make that next car, truck, bridge, or skyscraper.