Steel Products Prices North America

Regional Imports Through September: Cut-to-Length Plate

Written by Peter Wright

National level import reports do a good job of measuring the overall market pressure caused by the imports of individual products. The downside is that there are huge regional differences. This report examines cut-to-length plate imports by region through September 2020.

In September year to date, cut-to-length (CTL) plate imports were down by 45.2 percent at the national level, but on a regional basis ranged from a 79 percent decline in the North Pacific ports to an increase of 4 percent in the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes receives by far the most tonnage and accounts for 56 percent of the national total. Tonnage into the South Atlantic, North Pacific and across the Rio Grande is minimal.

Note the tonnage scales on the Y axis of Figure 4-7 are not the same.

Pacific Coast: The tonnage into both West Coast regions has been declining since June 2017. There was zero tonnage into the Northern ports in September and less than 1,000 tons into the South.

Atlantic Coast: The tonnage into the South Atlantic has been virtually zero for three years. Tonnage into the North has been low and erratic in the same time period totaling only 20,700 tons in 2020 through September.

Gulf and Great Lakes: These two regions account for over 80 percent of the national total with the Gulf at 25 percent and the Great Lakes at 56 percent. Both have been relatively stable since the beginning of 2017.

Rio Grande: Tonnage across the river has declined to a total of 3,600 through September this year and was down by 70% compared to last year. The trend has been down since the end of 2017.

Notes: SMU presents a comprehensive series of import reports ranging from the first look at licensed data to a detailed look at volume by district of entry and source nation. The report you are reading now is designed to plug the gap between these two. This report breaks total year to date import tonnage of six flat rolled products into seven regions and the growth/contraction for each product and region. There is a summary table for each product group and a bar chart showing volume by region for the first seven months of 2020. These are reference documents with no specific comments. These charts have been developed as a guide for buyers and sellers to have a broader understanding of what’s going on in their own backyard.

Regions are compiled from the following districts:

Atlantic North: Baltimore, Boston, New York, Ogdensburg, Philadelphia, Portland ME, St. Albans and Washington. DC.
Atlantic South: Charleston, Charlotte, Miami, Norfolk and Savannah.
Great Lakes: Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Duluth, Great Falls, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Pembina.
Gulf: Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, San Juan, St. Louis and Tampa.
Pacific North: Anchorage, Columbia Snake, San Francisco and Seattle.
Pacific South: Los Angeles and San Diego.
Rio Grande Valley: Laredo and El Paso.

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