TAIWAN STEEL SCRAP: Kaohsiung port accident to have minimal effect on discharge rates

An accident at Kaohsiung port, Taiwan, in which a tower crane collapsed on Thursday June 3 will likely have minimal impact on discharge rates for containerized ferrous scrap in the coming days, market sources told Fastmarkets.

The ship-to-shore gantry crane crashed to the ground after the empty 316-meter-long containership, OOCL Durban, collided with the 32,270-gross-tonne Yong Hung, anchored at Pier 7, and pushed it into the crane, the port of Kaohsiung said.

“That crane is for discharging containers, so the rest of the port will be busier in the coming days,” a Taiwanese trader told Fastmarkets on Friday June 4. “This is especially so because it is hard to replace the crane.”

The 86,679-gross-tonne OOCL Durban was booked to berth at Pier 55.

Another adjacent tower crane was also seriously damaged. About 30-50 containers were damaged.

Kaohsiung port said it will coordinate yard activities to ensure the incident does not affect berth utilization or container traffic.

This incident has not affected spot prices on Friday, with weak demand for containerized ferrous scrap driving prices down further this week.

“Kaohsiung port is very efficient and has many other berths which can unload containers, so only the shipping company using that berth will be affected,” another Taiwanese trader told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for containerized steel scrap, heavy melting scrap 1&2 (80:20), United States material import, cfr main port Taiwan was $440 per tonne on Friday, narrowing downward by $3 from $440-443 per tonne on Thursday, and down by $10 from $450 per tonne on May 28.

Offers were initially made at $450-455 per tonne cfr Taiwan at the start of this week, against tentative indications from buyers at $445-448 per tonne cfr Taiwan. But there were no transactions heard concluded at these price levels.

The weak demand from buyers succeeded in pushing prices downward by midweek.

Buyers had hesitated to procure materials at the start of the week amid the major Memorial Day holiday in the US and were waiting for lower prices.

They later procured material at $443 per tonne and $440 per tonne cfr Taiwan. There was market chatter that US-origin cargoes were also sold at $435 per tonne cfr Taiwan, although this could not be confirmed or were “likely in very small quantities,” traders said.

Hong Kong-origin containerized HMS 1&2 (80:20) were also sold at $435 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

South and Central American scrap was offered at $430 per tonne cfr Taiwan, while optimistic buyers were bidding at $420 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

A major domestic steel mill in Taiwan dropped its domestic scrap purchasing price on Monday by NT$300 ($10.84) per tonne, but kept its rebar sales price stable.

There were limited offers for bulk cargoes of Japanese H1&H2 scrap (50:50), although sources said some sellers had last offered such materials at $470 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

“Many sellers of Japanese cargoes are waiting for the result of the next Kanto Tetsugen auction later in June, before offering cargoes again,” a buyer source in Taiwan said.

Domestic prices in Japan remained strong, with shippers looking to keep their inventories for domestic sales instead of for exports. The lack of Japanese material has also not bolstered spot prices.

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