Steel Mills

CSI Increases Freight Rates on Truck Shortage

Written by Michael Cowden

California Steel Industries (CSI) is increasing freight rates by 5-13% because of a shortage of flatbed trucks.

The freight surcharge is effective immediately, and the exact amount varies by region, the West Coast slab converter said in a letter to customers Tuesday, May 4.

CSI“Transportation costs are rapidly increasing and are expected to continue to rise well into the summer months,” CSI said.

“In an effort to decrease the gap between truck demand and truck supply, California Steel Industries will allow its transportation partners to institute rate increases,” the company said.

Steel Market Update (SMU) last month reported that the U.S. trucking industry has struggled to keep up with strong demand as construction companies, manufacturers and retailers compete for limited domestic trucking capacity.

Increasing freight costs come on top of already record high steel prices.

SMU’s benchmark hot-rolled coil price stands at $1,500 per ton ($75/cwt), a new all-time high.

That figure is up 52.3% from $985 per ton at the beginning of the year and more than triple a 2020 low of $440 per ton recorded on Aug. 4.

Prices have been flat or up every week since early August–nearly 40 consecutive weeks.

Hot-rolled coil lead times are also setting new records. They stand at nearly 10 weeks now, up from approximately 8 weeks at the beginning of the year and from less than 4 weeks in early August, per SMU data.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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