Following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, plate exports from Ukraine have been halted.
Ukraine previously exported plate produced mainly at Metinvests’ Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.
The city has been fully occupied by Russian forces since late May, while Azovstal has been seriously damaged by Russian shelling and bombing.
Metinvest has been unable to make reliable estimations about the level of destruction, but the company nevertheless plans to rebuild the mill, although the building process will take at least three years.
It is technically possible to produce plate at Metinvest’s partly-owned Zaporizhstal Iron & Steel Works in central Ukraine, but only in limited sizes and low volumes, a source at the company told Fastmarkets.
Ukraine’s key Black Sea ports remain blockaded by Russia, making exports by ship impossible. Only limited tonnages of steel are able to be transported by road and rail, with bottlenecks further affecting the border.
Russian steel plate producers – which have traditionally focused on supplying the domestic market, primarily local pipe manufacturers and government projects – are able to continue to export from Black Sea ports. But Europe was the key export destination for Ukrainian steel plate and will now not touch Russian material due to the war-related international sanctions.
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