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Steel shipments from Mariupol have declined to 200,000-250,000 tonnes per month currently.

In May, the port shipped more than 1 million tonnes of ferrous metal, with 80% of the total volume coming from Metinvest.

Hostilities between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists, with the alleged involvement of Russian troops, have been focused on the industrial eastern region of Ukraine, but spread to Mariupol at the end of August.

Market participants have been raising concerns over the safety of shipments moving through the port. However, steel products are still being shipped via Mariupol, and the decline in export volumes is mainly attributed to decreases in production, the port company said.

Metinvest’s Yenakiieve Iron & Steel Works billet mill has been idle since an artillery attack in mid-August. Its Makiivka wire rod facility, which had been using billet from Yenakiieve as feedstock, has halted production as well.

Among the region’s billet makers, only Elektrostal is now producing “small quantities”, Mariupol port said. The mill sold 30,000 tonnes of October-production billet for export, one trader said.

Metinvest’s flat steel mills in the region – Ilyich Iron & Steel Works and Azovstal Iron & Steel Works – are working at levels which are “more or less stable”, making up the port’s shipments, the port company said.

In early September, Metinvest supplied slab for the military defence of the Azov Sea port, where the two flat steel mills are located.