Steel Products Prices North America

Regional Imports Through September: Hot Rolled Coil

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 hot rolled coil imports by region through September 2020.

In September, hot rolled imports were down by 15.3 percent at the national level, but on a regional basis ranged from a 68 percent decline in the North Atlantic ports to a decline of 6.0 percent in the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes receives by far the most tonnage and accounts for 60 percent of the national total. Tonnage into the South Atlantic is minimal.

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

Pacific Coast: The tonnage into the West Coast as a whole accounts for 25 percent of the national total. South Pacific ports have received a fairly consistent tonnage since 2013, but the North Pacific declined drastically in 2016 and has not recovered.

Atlantic Coast: Only 1.0 percent of the national tonnage entered the Atlantic ports The tonnage into the South Atlantic has been almost zero this year.

Gulf and Great Lakes: The Great Lakes accounted for 60 percent of the national total through September with 6.0 percent entering the Gulf, which was down by 56 percent from last year. In 2014 and 2015, the tonnage into these regions was similar. 

Rio Grande: Tonnage crossing the Rio Grande has declined erratically from 30,000 tons per month in November 2014 to an average of 12,000 tons per month this year. Though September, this region accounted for 9 percent of the national total.  

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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