Steel Products

SMU CEO Discusses Clean Steel & More

Written by John Packard

John Packard founded Steel Market Update in 2008 after spending 31 years actively selling steel in the service center, steel mill and trading company segments of the industry. He is currently President & CEO of Steel Market Update which was sold to CRU in 2018. Steel Market Update is a leader in collection of market intelligence which includes steel prices (hot rolled, cold rolled, galvanized, Galvalume and plate steels), ferrous scrap prices along with supply, demand and other pertinent information impacting buyers and sellers of steel within North America. The following article was published in the Steel Market Update newsletter on Tuesday, March 2nd.

In my opinion, the United States will soon join the rest of the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a special emphasis on carbon. The steel industry is a carbon-intensive segment of the economy and anyone associated with the industry (manufacturers, distributors, etc.) will have to learn how “Clean Steel” and the ways of managing the environment through “Carbon Border Taxes” and other means are going to impact the way companies do business.

SMU and our parent company CRU are working to assist companies to better understand the costs of inaction and what your company needs to do to prepare for the new normal that is coming.

SMU, in conjunction with CRU, is building a new workshop, which will concentrate on understanding commodity and steel costs. Perhaps even more importantly, it will cover how companies will need to deal with the decarbonization of their products.

My idea for the new workshop, which is tentatively called Steel 201: Steel Inputs, Steel Making Costs, and Competitiveness in a “Clean Steel” World is to deal with a number of key topics:

  • Commodities, Electricity Impact on International and U.S. mills.
  • Competitive position of North American steel mills in a pre-carbon and post-carbon tax environment.
  • Clean Steel – what is Scope 1, Scope 2, Scope 3?
  • Alternative steel making technologies and low CO2 options for BF/BOF.
  • What is ESG?
  • Implications of the above on steel pricing.
  • New steel capacity (North America) and impact on supply/steel prices.
  • What can my company do to get ready?

We are looking at this event’s agenda, instructors, etc. to be completed over the next couple of weeks as we target a May date for the first workshop (which will be virtual).

John Packard Summit 18I have asked Ryan Smith of CRU to participate in one of our SMU Community Chat Webinars later this month to discuss the carbon curve, the U.S. steel mill’s position on that curve and what that means for the future of the U.S. steel industry. He is in Australia and we are working on details now (most likely this will be a late afternoon webinar due to the 15-hour time difference).

Look for SMU to write more about Clean Steel, new technologies and decarbonization in the weeks and months ahead. I believe it is coming (just like electric vehicles are coming) and you and your company need to get ready.

The 2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference registrations have moved through 100+ attendees as we work toward conducting the first live in-person conference this year. COVID-19 vaccines are accelerating and our expectation is the U.S. will be at (or near) herd immunity by the end of August.

The SMU Steel Summit Conference dates are Aug. 23-25 and the event will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta next to the Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

I am hard at work putting together a cutting-edge and entertaining agenda, which will feature steel mill CEOs and experts on the economy. We will discuss key issues affecting supply and steel prices such as scrap, trade and other issues, and we will broach new subjects such as the concept of Clean Steel and what that may mean for the industry.

Steel SummitYou can learn more about our conference, costs and how to join those already registered by clicking here.

Through last week the following companies were registered. Those with an asterisk (*) indicates they have more than one person attending: Algoma Steel*, All Metals*, ANDRITZ Metals USA, Inc., Arcosa, B&W Trailer Hitches*, Bay Cities Metal Products*, BMO Harris Bank N.A.*, CRU*, Deutsche Bank, Feralloy Corporation*, Friedman Industries*, Heidtman Steel Products, Inc.*, Imperial Manufacturing*, Klauer Manufacturing*, LB Steel, Lennox International, Metal Edge Partners*, Myers Container, New Process Steel, NLMK USA*, North American Steel Alliance*, North Star BlueScope Steel*, Priefert Manufacturing*, Priefert Steel*, Railroad Friction Products Corporation, RMS Manuacturing, Ryerson*, Ryerson Holding Corporation, Siskin Steel and Supply*, State Steel Supply Company*, Trend Publishing, Wisconsin Steel & Tube*, Worthington Industries.

We anticipate a record-breaking crowd, and you can register to join your peers by clicking here.

I want to commend the SMU team: Tim Triplett, Brett Linton, Sandy Williams, Michael Cowden, David Schollaert and Paige Mayhair for producing two quality newsletters, keeping up our website and assisting in keeping the flat rolled and plate steel segments of the steel industry informed about steel prices and market activities. We have had record sales over the past few months, and I think it is important to recognize the people who are making this happen.

At the same time, our events team has (and continues) to roll out new steel training workshops to complement our long-standing stalwart Steel 101 workshop, and we are hitting on all cylinders on our conferences (Tampa Steel Conference and SMU Steel Summit Conference). Our workshop instructors are: Mario Briccetti, Roger Walburn, Chuck McDaniels, Spencer Johnson, Tim Stevenson, Estelle Tran and our events coordinator here in the United States is Jill Waldman. We also have a tremendous events team in London supporting our efforts headed by Nicky Coslett, Anna Chamberlain-Webber, Tom Willatt, Paul Terry, Hayley Ward, Emma Phillips, Kay Beloe and many more. Their efforts combined with the SMU staff have managed to provide an exceptional virtual platform, sell out numerous workshops, gathered 454 attendees for the Tampa Steel Conference and more. Quite the team.

I remember back when I started SMU as a one-man show in 2008…. We have come a long way.

There is a reason why you are doing business with Steel Market Update. We have people who work well together, love what they do and enjoy interacting with all our clients. We work hard to get the information we put out there right and make it relevant to your business. We are not sitting on our laurels as we continue to develop new products, expand our market reach and deal with the topics you find the most pressing.

We welcome questions, comments or suggestions, which you can send to

If you would like to learn more about how to subscribe to Steel Market Update, or how to expand or upgrade your existing account, please reach out to Paige Mayhair at or by phone at 724-720-1012.

As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, President & CEO

Latest in Steel Products