Large investments made by market players
Bangladesh will fully depend on locally manufactured billets within two years as large investments have been made by some market players, said steel mill owners.
Billets, metal bars in semi-finished state, are the main raw materials for manufacturing steel products for the construction industry. Leading companies which produce them, import these metal bars to fill the gap in demand.
Due to high demand for quality billets the market players themselves have invested money to produce this steel product in the country, sources said.
Currently the ship breaking industry cannot meet the whole demand from the steel and re-rolling mills for scrap iron, from which billets are being manufactured.
Chairman of Bangladesh Steel Re-rolling Mills (BSRM) Ali Hussain Akberali said, "I do not get enough iron scrap locally as per my demand to manufacture billets."
Leading companies do not manufacture steel products directly from iron scraps, he said adding, "I myself do not get quality scraps for manufacturing billets at my factory. I can only get 30 per cent of my requirement."
"To meet the growing demand for steel products I need billets and it is met from my own factory. I also have to import some quantity," he said.
Mr Akberali said a good number of mills which were once just re-rolling mills are now manufacturing billets and when the companies currently in the pipeline start production, billets import will stop automatically.
A source in the ship-breaking industry said iron scraps currently available are not enough to feed the billet manufacturing units but if scraps are available locally, we'll be able to save a huge amount of foreign currency.
He said as the trend of manufacturing quality steel products are there in the market, so producers of low quality steel would be discouraged in the coming days.
He said steel products manufactured from locally available iron scraps are not in any way of inferior quality than the imported billets. Rather it is better as we devote our attention to quality.
Bangladesh can have its own iron scraps from the ship breaking industry if high technology is used in the breaking yards, a Bangladesh Ship-breaking Industry Association office bearer said.
He said if local ship breaking industry fails to supply quality iron scraps to the billet manufactures, import of shirred scraps which is currently being imported by some leading companies would increase.
To meet the demands for iron scraps locally the ship-breakers are thinking to adopt new technology in their yards to convert iron scraps into shirred scraps, he said.
Source: the financial express. 15 October 2013