By: Grace Lavigne
Steel operations in Florida are gearing up to face the destructive power of Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm that is currently expected to make landfall in the southeastern US state on September 10.
Steel Resources LLC, a Miami-based company specializing in steel trading, closed its office midday on September 7 and remained closed on Friday, according to commercial director Alberto Dahbura.
“We’re still operating, but in a limited way and under a lot of stress,” he said, noting that staff will be working remotely in the coming days. “Customers understand that we have this situation, and they’re booking orders.”
Similarly, Continental Steel & Tube Co., a specialty metals supplier with a distribution center in Miami,on Thursday closed its office until further notice. “I’m working from Maryland,” company founder Don Ascione told AMM via e-mail.
Kloeckner Metals also began closing its four facilities in Florida around midday on September 7, as well as its location in Charleston, S.C., according to Warren Daubenspeck, corporate vice president of safety. The company intends to keep the operations closed through September 11, he said. The Florida facilities mainly specialize in structural and heavy carbon products, and the Charleston location handles mostly flat-rolled products, he noted.
“We started looking at our emergency plans (in the early part of the week of September 4), giving our employees instructions and opening up lines of communications,” Daubenspeck told AMM. “We also took some precautions, depending on the location—moving important documents, equipment and materials to mitigate damage.”
The Roswell, Ga.-based steel service center has set up dial-in numbers for employee communications, as well as a relief fund for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, he added. “We’ll be monitoring the storm as it heads north. … If further actions are required, we will address that in Georgia and South Carolina if (Irma) gets up that far.”
In addition, Valmont Industries Inc. closed its coated steel production location in Miami on September 8 in preparation for the storm, although none of its other facilities—including its Tampa location—have been closed, according to Richard Cornish, president of Valmont’s global coatings segment.
“(Reopening will) just depend how the hurricane comes to be,” he told AMM. “We plan to be back in