Gerdau Special Steel North America
Steelmaker Gerdau Special Steel North America, Jackson, Michigan, has enhanced its logistics process, thus generating positive results for both the companys trucking partners and Gerdaus customers. As part of its customer perspective, Gerdau Special Steel needed to be aware that the trucks delivering its steel products are an extension of the steelmaker when they reach the customer.
With Gerdau Special Steels goal to be the shipper of choice, the steelmaker took several actions to identify, with truck drivers input, several initiatives that have resulted in improved driver satisfaction that reduces turnover, improved utilization that promotes a consistent driver and carrier, and reduced wait time and cost avoidance that helps improve safety. Several actions focused on Gerdau Special Steel surveying its drivers on what the steelmaker is doing well and what can be improved, and recognition of the drivers efforts and safety awareness by Gerdau Special Steel leadership.
With worker safety being a key value, Gerdau Special Steels logistics department has been able to sustain a safe work environment. The mills at Jackson and Monroe, Michigan, are currently in their ninth year without a lost-time accident, while the mill at Fort Smith, Arkansas, has achieved ten years without a lost-time accident. One large national flatbed company said: Truck drivers are the cornerstone of the transportation industry. Shipper of Choice has been a phrase frequently used, but many have not embraced that philosophy and given it the attention it deserves. Gerdaus willingness to understand, embrace and cultivate change at its facilities for drivers is refreshing. The staffs ability to execute is its most valuable attribute.
Ports of Indiana
The Ports of Indiana is a state-wide port authority that operates a system of three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. They serve the steel, manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The Ports locations, innovative business model and management vision have allowed Indianas ports to operate without the need for ongoing public tax-dollar support. The ports in Burns Harbor, Jeffersonville and Mount Vernon handle more than 11.8 million tons of product each year. They contribute over $7.8 million to the state economy and support nearly 60,000 jobs, more than half of which are steel-related.
In service to the steel industry, the Ports of Indiana handle two million tons of steel annually, 100 ocean-going ships, 200 Great Lakes vessels, 5,000 US inland river barges, 65,000 railcars and 710,000 trucks. Each port builds, operates and maintains the infrastructure needed to support these levels of shipments. And both the steel consumers and producers benefit from the Ports of Indianas ability to provide access to global markets through multimodal capabilities.
Support of the domestic steel industry by the Ports of Indiana has been strengthened in the past five years by securing two major federal grants that will allow for nearly $40 million in infrastructure upgrades and by providing specialized sites and growth opportunities for the more than 30 on-site steel companies. In the last five years, the Ports of Indiana have been successful in attracting Posco Steel, Mill Steel, Metro Ports and Ratner Steel, some of which have already expanded their initial facilities.
Over the past five years, the ports overall steel shipments have increased by 142%. Future expansion calls for a new 2.3-acre cargo terminal with multimodal connections for handling cargo transfers between ships, barges, railcars and trucks, another 4.4 miles of rail track, two new rail yards for storage of 165 railcars and other improvement projects.