Steel Mills

JSW Steel USA Idles Operations at Baytown

Written by Sandy Williams

JSW Steel USA will idle its Baytown, Texas, plate mill, citing recent changes to quotas of semifinished steel imports from Brazil.

“While on the journey to becoming a ‘melted and manufactured in the USA’ company, JSW utilized the imported slab quota system put in place by the administration to support operations at our Baytown, Texas, location,” said JSW Steel USA CEO Mark Bush. “Unfortunately, due to recent changes to the quota for imports of semifinished steel from Brazil in Q4 2020, JSW is no longer able to purchase the slabs needed to support our operations or customers for the remainder of 2020. As a result, JSW USA will lay off approximately 270 employees and put our plate mill in care and maintenance mode at the Baytown facility.”

Brazil escaped 25 percent Section 232 duties on steel products in 2018 by agreeing to a quota system instead. In August, the administration reduced the Brazilian semifinished steel quota for the fourth quarter to 60,000 metric tons from 350,000 tons, citing a “recent deterioration in market conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic affecting domestic steel producers.”

JSW plans to utilize the idling of the mill to resolve equipment issues and test and calibrate equipment replaced at Baytown as part of the Phase 1 investment. Engineering will be continued to support Phase 2, which includes the replacement of the complete rolling mill stand, laminar cooling and the cooling beds.

JSW idled its Mingo Junction, Ohio, plant earlier this year citing “unforeseeable business circumstances.” During the down period, JSW is completing the modernization of the Tenova Consteel electric arc furnace.

“JSW Steel USA will emerge from these difficult times a leaner, stronger industry leader, viewed as a top employer in Ohio and Texas,” said Bush.” Our ultimate goal is to be the safest steel company in the world and the number one supplier to our customers.”

Mark Bush succeeded John Hritz as CEO just last month. On his appointment, Bush said, “First priority is to get the expansion projects commissioned.”

Both Ohio and Baytown reported losses in Q2 FY 2020 earnings with Baytown’s plate mill operating at 23 percent capacity and the pipe mill at 3 percent. The pipe mill was placed in care and maintenance mode in mid-May.

Latest in Steel Mills