US metal scrap recyclers see the ‘tough’ lockdown in India as the biggest overseas trade issue to emerge during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to bank closures and docks being unavailable.
‘None of the ports other than the ones in India were closed,’ said George Adams of California-based SA Recycling during an online discussion on global scrap trade presented by the Bureau of International Recycling. ‘Sure, we have had some congestion issues in the beginning with China but nothing dramatic compared to India,’ said Adams. ‘Even in South America, like in Peru, most of the ports have remained open for business.’
Greg Schnitzer of Schnitzer Steel Industries said ‘all markets are available today’ and that the situation in India was also easing. ‘Hopefully, we’ve seen the worst of it and we’re coming out of this,’ he said. ‘We’re beginning to see demand pick up.’
Now that China is again shipping ‘a lot of goods to the US West Coast’ there is no longer a shortage of containers, according to Adams. David Chiao of Uni-All Group agreed that this difficulty earlier in the pandemic had now been overcome. But he warned a further container equipment imbalance could emerge in another month or so as Chinese exporters were experiencing a growing shortage. He also noted that, despite lower oil prices, freight rates had gone up in recent months as a result of higher surcharges.