Chesterton Tribune



USS Gary Works blast furnace idling won't lead now to layoffs

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U.S. Steel Corporation (USS) does not at the moment expect the planned idling of a blast furnace at Gary Works to result in layoffs, a spokesperson told the Chesterton Tribune this morning.

The idling is one of three announced by the company on Tuesday, intended to reduce its “global blast furnace footprint” and “better align our global production with our book order,” in the wake of a softening market.

In addition to the idling of a Gary Works blast furnace, the Great Lakes Works B2 at Ecorse, Mich., will be idled following a planned maintenance outage which began last week; and the No. 2 blast furnace at U.S. Steel Europe will be idled as well.

“The current outage at the Great Lake B2 blast furnace is a planned outage and a decision has not yet been made on which south blast furnace at Gary Works will be idled,” Meghan Cox said. “We currently anticipate there will be no immediate impact on employment levels at either facility. Employees associated with these areas of operation will be re-assigned to other roles within their respective facilities.”

On the other hand, USS is unable to say right now how long the idlings may remain in effect or when the market might rebound. “It would not be prudent to speculate as to how long we expect current market conditions to last,” Cox said. “All operational decisions, including re-starting one or both of these blast furnaces, are guided by market conditions. We will continue to monitor market conditions and reassess operational status as necessary.”

Among other things, USS cited decreasing steel prices, softening end-market demand, and lower second-quarter shipments of flat-rolled, the latter due to flooding in the southern U.S., “which has limited the availability of barges and our ability to ship finished product to customers over the past few weeks.”

The company also noted that increasing levels of imports and “continued market headwinds related to raw material costs and demand” have negatively impacted U.S. Steel Europe, while “tubular margins are under pressure due to lower selling prices.”


Posted 6/20/2019




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