U.S. Steel said on Monday it plans to temporarily idle blast furnace ‘B’ at its Granite City Works near St. Louis.
The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker said it made the move in response to the United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike against “Big Three” automakers Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.
“Following the announcement of UAW strike actions, we are executing our risk mitigation plan to ensure our melt capacity is balanced with our order book,” a company spokeswoman said in an email to SMU.
“As a result, we have decided to temporarily idle blast furnace ‘B’ at Granite City Works and are reallocating volumes as needed to other domestic facilities to efficiently meet customer demand,” she added.
Granite City has two blast furnaces: ‘A’ and ‘B’. The ‘A’ furnace was indefinitely idled in April 2020, according to SMU’s blast furnace status table. An idling of the ‘B’ furnace means there would be no melting at the mill.
The plant makes hot-rolled, cold-rolled, and coated sheet for customers in the construction, container, pipe and tube, service center, and automotive sectors, per U.S. Steel’s website.
CRU principal analyst Josh Spoores said at the outset of the strike that work stoppages could lead to multiple furnace outages. That’s because automotive is one of the most concentrated sources of steel demand.
“Additionally, we will likely see the extension of other maintenance outages that are already taking place,” Spoores said at the time. “Mills must cut back on production in order to keep sheet prices from crashing.”
Note that several mills are taking planned fall maintenance outages expected to remove as many as 1 million tons from the market between roughly now and Thanksgiving. Those outages could be extended.
SMU has updated its blast furnace status table for U.S. Steel to reflect the change at Granite City.
U.S. Steel will have only six blast furnaces operating at just two US mills once Granite City B is idled: two at its Mon Valley Works in western Pennsylvania and four at its Gary Works in northwest Indiana.
Blast Furnace Status: U.S. Steel
|Mill Name||Furnace ID||Daily Capacity (Net Tons)||Running?||Comments|
|Edgar Thomson Plant (Mon Valley Works)||No. 1||3200||Yes|
|No. 3||2900||Yes||Restarted on Jan. 27, 2023 following H2'22 idling|
|Fairfield Works||No. 8||6000||No||Permanently idled in Aug. 2015 and removed from active status|
|Gary Works||No. 4||3800||Yes|
|No. 8||3000||Yes||Restarted in March 2023 after being idled in Sept. 2022|
|Granite City Works||A Furnace||3600||No||A furnace indefinitely idled in April 2020|
|B Furnace||3600||No||B furnace temporarily idled in Sept. 2023.|
|Great Lakes Works||A-1||4100||No||Permanently idled June 2019 and April 2020|
The table above does not include U.S. Steel’s mill in Kosice, Slovakia.
Michael CowdenRead more from Michael Cowden
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