Diving into the world of global steel trading can be exhausting sometimes, we all know it! If you are a steel trader, you are certainly no stranger to finding yourself beset on all sides by head-twisting questions about where to buy steel, what type of steel to buy, how to find a trusted supplier and form reliable business relationships or how to go global in your steel trading business.
Worry no more. We have the answers you’ve been seeking!
Check out our guide below to better navigate in the world of steel!
I. Get-to-know guide to different types of steel
1. Different types of steel: Classified by chemical composition
1.1. Carbon Steel
Carbon steel is a steel with carbon content up to 2.1% by weight. As the carbon percentage content rises, steel has the ability to become harder and stronger through heat treating; however, it becomes less ductile. Regardless of the heat treatment, a higher carbon content reduces weldability. In carbon steels, the higher carbon content lowers the melting point.
Carbon steel is broken down into four classes based on carbon content
0.05 to 0.30% carbon content.
Approximately 0.3–0.8% carbon content.
Approximately 0.8–2.0% carbon content.
Approximately 3.25–4.0% carbon content. Steels that can be tempered to great hardness.
Carbon steel can be used in various fields for various purposes. While low-carbon steel is used for making fences, medium carbon steel with a medium amount of carbon used in it, is best suited and used for constructing bridges and buildings. The high carbon steel is mainly used for wires. Lastly, the ultra-high carbon steel which is also known as “Cast iron” is used in the making of pots and pans.
1.2. Alloy Steel
Alloy steels are made by combining carbon steel with one or several alloying elements, such as manganese, silicon, nickel, titanium, copper, chromium and aluminum. These metals are added to produce specific properties that are not found in regular carbon steel. The elements are added in varying proportions (or combinations) making the material take on different aspects such as increased hardness, increased corrosion resistance, increased strength, improved formability (ductility); the weldability can also change.
Alloying Elements & Their Effects
- Chromium — Adds hardness. Increased toughness and wear resistance.
- Cobalt – Used in making cutting tools; improved Hot Hardness (or Red Hardness).
- Manganese – Increases surface hardness. Improves resistance to strain, hammering & shocks.
- Molybdenum – Increases strength. Improves resistance to shock and heat.
- Nickel – Increases strength & toughness. Improves corrosion resistance.
- Tungsten – Adds hardness and improves grain structure. Provides improved heat resistance.
- Vanadium – Increases strength, toughness and shock resistance. Improved corrosion resistance.
- Chromium-Vanadium – Greatly improved tensile strength. It is hard but easy to bend and cut.
- Pipe: Pipes made of alloy steel have exceptional performance properties. They are generally developed for energy-related applications involving oil and gas drilling and are subjected to stresses in machine parts.
- With the proper combination, alloy steels can be used to manufacture:
- Boats, aircraft, railroad cars and machinery
- Electrical springs, boat propellers
- Electrical hardware, tools, heavy gears,
- Silverware, pots and pans
- Corrosion-resistant containers
1.3. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is an alloy of Iron with a minimum of 10.5% Chromium. Chromium produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the steel known as the ‘passive layer’. This prevents any further corrosion of the surface. Increasing the amount of Chromium gives an increased resistance to corrosion.
Stainless steels are notable for their corrosion resistance, which increases with increasing chromium content. Additions of molybdenum increase corrosion resistance in reducing acids and against pitting attack in chloride solutions. Thus, there are numerous grades of stainless steel with varying chromium and molybdenum contents to suit the environment the alloy must endure. Stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance, and familiar lustre make it an ideal material for many applications where both the strength of steel and corrosion resistance are required.
Stainless steels are rolled into sheets, plates, bars, wire, and tubing to be used in cookware, cutlery, surgical instruments, major appliances and as construction material in large buildings, such as the Chrysler Building as well as, industrial equipment (for example, in paper mills, chemical plants, water treatment), and storage tanks and tankers for chemicals and food products (for example, chemical tankers and road tankers). Stainless steel’s corrosion resistance, the ease with which it can be steam cleaned and sterilized and no need for other surface coatings has also influenced its use in commercial kitchens and food processing plants.
1.4. Tool steel
Tool steel refers to a variety of carbon and alloy steels that are particularly well-suited to be made into tools. Their suitability comes from their distinctive hardness, resistance to abrasion and deformation, and their ability to hold a cutting edge at elevated temperatures.
With a carbon content between 0.5% and 1.5%, tool steels are manufactured under carefully controlled conditions to produce the required quality. There are six groups of tool steels: water-hardening, cold-work, shock-resistant, high-speed, hot-work, and special purpose. The choice of group to select depends on cost, working temperature, required surface hardness, strength, shock resistance, and toughness requirements. The more severe the service condition (higher temperature, abrasiveness, corrosiveness, loading), the higher the alloy content and consequent amount of carbides required for the tool steel.
Tool steel is used in the shaping of other materials, due to their distinctive hardness, resistance to abrasion and deformation, and their ability to hold a cutting edge at elevated temperatures.
2. Different types of steel: Classified by Coating
2.1. Black steel
Black steel is created through a mill process which involves rolling the steel at a high temperature (typically at a temperature over 1700° F), which is above the steel’s recrystallization temperature. When steel is above the recrystallization temperature, it can be shaped and formed easily, and the steel can be made in much larger sizes. Black steel is typically cheaper than bright drawn steel due to the fact that it is often manufactured without any delays in the process, and therefore the reheating of the steel is not required (as it is with bright drawn). When the steel cools off it will shrink slightly thus giving less control on the size and shape of the finished product when compared to bright drawn.
Black products like black steel bars are used in the welding and construction trades to make railroad tracks and I-beams, for example. Black steel is used in situations where precise shapes and tolerances are not required.
2.2. Galvanized steel
Galvanized steel is a type of steel that has been galvanized by the application of a zinc coating throughout its body so that it can be protected from corroding or rusting. Galvanized steel has a longer life and durability compared to non-galvanized steel. The application process of zinc on a steel structure is called “galvanization.”
- Galvanized steel is available in a variety of forms, such as galvanized pipes and galvanized wire. It is used in high tension electrical towers, protective gears, and highway signs.
- Many commercial buildings have an exterior layer of galvanized steel, mostly on the walls and pillars, to protect the entire structure from rusting and corrosion. Also, the typical appearance of this alloy imparts the constructed buildings with an ability to merge with the surrounding structures.
2.3. Pre-painted steel
Pre-painted steel is a type of steel on which a coating material (e.g. paint, film…) has been applied by coil coating. A wide range of organic coatings is in use for prepainted metal, developed in order to provide different levels of durability and performance, or to satisfy different aesthetic requirements.
Liquid paints account for more than 90% of the coatings used for prepainted steel. Films are often used where very high aesthetic quality is required. Variations in film thickness, colors and finish (smooth, structured or printed) can be achieved. Powder coatings can be described as “solid paint” which can be melted to form a continuous film over the substrate. Each type of coating has its own specific advantages, be it thickness, gloss, hardness, flexibility, durability in harsh weather or resistance to chemical attack. The choice of the most suitable system must be based on its usage and expected performance.
Pre-paint steel is used in many applications, including metal roofing, garage doors, lighting fixtures, appliances and heating and air-conditioning.
II. Where to Buy Steel: Top steel suppliers in the world
1. Top steel suppliers in Asia
1.1. China Baowu Steel Group Corp., Ltd
China Baowu Steel Group Corp., Ltd. is a state-owned steel company headquartered in the Baosteel Tower in Pudong, Shanghai, China. Baosteel is the fifth-largest steel supplier in the world measured by crude steel output, with an annual output of around 35 million tons. It has annual revenues of around $21.5 billion, and suppliers a mix of products. A plan to merge with Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation was announced on 21–22 September 2016, which would make the combined production volume the second highest in the world (34.938 million + 25.776 million), after ArcelorMittal (97.136 million in 2015), surpassing Hesteel Group (47.745 million in 2015).
Baosteel Co., Ltd. sticks to the development road of “innovation, coordination, greenness, openness and sharing”, and possesses the world-renowned brand and the world first-class technical level and service capability. The company attaches great emphasis to cultivating its innovation capacity, actively develops and applies the advanced technology for manufacturing, energy-conservation and environmental protection, and has established the marketing, processing and service network with nationwide coverage and worldwide involvement. Its independently developed new generation high strength automotive steel, oriented silicon steel, high-grade steel for household appliances, oil gas pipes, steel for bridges, hot-rolled heavy rail and other high-end products reach the world’s advanced level.
- Steel products: Hot Rolled Steel, HR Steel Sheet (Pickled), Cold-rolled, Cold Rolled Steel Sheet, Galvanized Steel Sheet Galvanized Steel Sheet, Prepainted Steel Sheet, Tin Plate and TFS(ECCS), Electrical Steel Sheet, Heavy Plate, Pipe & Tube, Bar & Wire Rod
- Volume of steel production: 95.5 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.baowugroup.com
1.2. Hesteel Group Company Limited
Hesteel Group Company Limited is a Chinese iron and steel manufacturing conglomerate, also known as Hesteel Group or its pinyin short name Hegang. Hesteel Group is the second-largest steel supplier in the world measured by crude steel output (after European-Indian conglomerate ArcelorMittal) in 2015, according to the World Steel Association.
The Group encompasses over 30 subsidiaries with 120,000 employees enrolled. Centering on steel making, they are also involved in mineral resources, financial services, modern logistics, iron & steel trade and equipment manufacturing. In 2016, their operating income stood at 290.8 billion RMB and year-end total assets 360.4 billion RMB. It ranked 221th among the global 500. The group got “highly competitive” — the highest rating of Report on the comprehensive competitiveness of Chinese iron and steel enterprises in 2016. Now HBIS is the member of World Steel Association’s Executive Committee and the rotating Presidential Enterprise of China Steel Association.
- Steel products: Hot rolled strip for automobile, Hot rolled strip for oil pipeline, Hot rolled strip for hull structure, Hot rolled weathering strip, Hot rolled carbon structure steel strip, Hot rolled quality carbon steel strip for export, Hot rolled quality tool steel strip, Hot rolled strip for cold forming, checkered steel strip, Hot rolled electrical steel strip, Hot rolled strip for welded gas cylinder, Hot rolled strip for spring, hot rolled enamel steel strip, hot rolled strip for electrical power pipe, hot rolled strip for pipe
- Volume of steel production: 63.8 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.hbis.com
1.3. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation was formed in 2012 with the merger of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal. NSSMC aims at building a global and optimal production system, based on high technological capabilities, and at globally expanding business by taking advantage of our competitiveness in products and costs. By focusing on technology, cost, and being global, their three strategic areas are automotive, energy/resources, and infrastructure-related. They intend to expand shares mainly in the high end of those markets with medium to long-term growth potential.
At present, NSSMC produces approximately 50 million tons of crude steel per year. Since the integration in 2012 of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metals to form NSSMC, they have consolidated facilities but have maintained production capacity by raising productivity by deploying our technological capability and at the same time have enhanced cost competitiveness. The present status of their improvement of production facilities is to complete changes that include, in particular, consolidation of 14 blast furnaces to 12, 32 converters to 28, and continuous casting facilities from 30 units to 27 from the integration in 2012 to the end of 2020.
- Steel products: Steel, flat steel products, long steel products, wire steel products, steel plates.
- Volume of steel production: 46.2 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.nssmc.com
POSCO is a multinational steel-making company headquartered in Pohang, South Korea. It had an output of 42 million tonnes of crude steel in 2015, making it the world’s fourth-largest steelmaker by this measure. In 2010, it was the world’s largest steel manufacturing company by market value. Also, in 2012, it was named as the 146th world’s largest corporations by the Fortune global 500.
POSCO currently operates two integrated steel mills in South Korea, in Pohang and Gwangyang. In addition, POSCO operates a joint venture with U.S. Steel, USS-POSCO, which is located in Pittsburg, California, United States.
- Steel products: hot-rolled steel, steel plate, wire rod, cold-rolled steel, galvanized steel, electrical galvanized steel, electrical steel, automotive materials, stainless steel
- Volume of steel production: 41.6 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.posco.com
1.5. Jiangsu Shagang Group Company Limited
Jiangsu Shagang Group Company Limited is located in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu, China, an Economic Development Zone of the Yangtze River. According to a 2008 survey conducted by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), the company was the largest privately owned company in China at the time. It involves the production and sales of “Shagang” brand name steel products. At the end of 2007, it employs over 26,700 staff, covers an area of 10 km2, and has total assets of over RMB100 billion Yuan.
Iron and steel are girding China’s economic development, and Jiangsu Shagang is the big part of that process. The company processes some 18 million tons of iron annually in order to roll out about 23 million tons of steel each year, making it one of China’s top-five steel supplier. Jiangsu Shagang’s product line includes rebar, wire rods, slabs, and hot-rolled coils. In addition to iron and steel, Jiangsu Shagang produces stainless steel and zinc-plated steel sheets. Since 2006, the company has acquired four smaller, rival steel companies, and it now ranks as China’s largest private steel supplier.
- Steel products: Wide and Heavy Steel Plate, Hot-rolled Steel Coil, Cold-rolled Steel Coil, Wire Rod, Rebar, Rods and Bars, Steel Strand, Welded Steel Pipe, Special Steel Billet.
- Volume of steel production: 33.3 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.sha-steel.com
1.6. Chinh Dai Industrial Ltd.
With 18+ years of continuous expansion and innovation, Chinh Dai Industrial Ltd. has become one of the leading steel pipe manufacturers in the region with the presence in many large-scale projects. Placing Dignity, Stature and Credibility at the core value, Chinh Dai steel is committed to satisfying the highest demands of customers on both product and service quality.
After nearly 3 years of export experiences, Chinh Dai is trusted and well-recognized by many global and regional trading houses in Southeast Asia market and in demanding markets like Australia. Chinh Dai aspire to becoming the first name that comes to your mind when you’re asking the hard question “where to buy steel”
Galvanized Rolled Steel Coils
Chinh Dai Company’s rolled galvanized steel coils products are manufactured based on Japanese, Korean and Chinese hot rolled coils. Zinc raw materials are imported from Australia, Korea and Brazil. Surface is specially treated with a chemical protective layer imported from India, so that our products have these outstanding characteristics:
- The surface is ensured to be shiny and beautifully patterned.
- The zinc layer is thick (Z12 – Z18) and resistant to corrosion and able to protect the inner layer for a longer period.
- Industrial roofing, pre-engineered steel buildings, steel pipes;
- Building materials, factories, workshops, ware houses, hospitals, schools, theaters, etc.
- Cars, industrial and household electrical appliances, etc.
Galvanized Steel Pipe
Chinh Dai Company’s galvanized steel pipes products are manufactured based on Japanese, Korean and Chinese hot rolled coils. Zinc raw materials are imported from Australia, Korea and Brazil. The surface is specially treated with a chemical protective layer imported from India, so that the products have these following outstanding characteristics:
- The surface is shiny and beautifully patterned.
- High durability and perfect pressure resistance thanks to the thick Zinc layer (Z12 – Z18), increased corrosion resistance and inner layer protected for a longer period.
Application: Galvanized Steel Pipes are widely used in civil construction, ultrasonic tiling, scaffolding, prefabricated flooring, civil houses, interior decoration, iron doors, fences, car accessories, etc.
Black Steel Pipe
Chinh Dai Company’s Black Steel Pipes Products are manufactured based on Japanese standard JIS G3466 in order to make a breakthrough solution of quality, price as well as other economic benefits; therefore, they have high durability, perfect resistance to corrosion and rust, and suitability for sea area’s construction (high oxidation).
Our product was pioneered in industrial-scale manufacturing and became an alternative to a large part of the former Black Steel Pipe use.
Application: Black Steel Pipes are widely used in civil construction, ultrasonic tiling, scaffolding, prefabricated flooring, civil houses, interior decoration, iron doors, fences, car accessories, etc.
Special Steel Product
Chinh Dai supplies other steel products such as oval tube, fence with outstanding characteristics that are not easy to make.
With modern and closed production line, strict quality control from input to output, Chinh Dai’s special products are always ensured the best quality, accurate thickness and surface size. Especially, Oval pipes of Chinh Dai bring aesthetic value and durability.
At Chinh Dai, we also produce:
- Goat fence panel
- Sheep fence panel
- Cow fence panel
- Horse fence panel
2. Top steel suppliers in Europe
2.1. ArcelorMittal S.A
ArcelorMittal is the largest steel producer in the Americas, Africa and Europe and is the fifth largest steel producer in the CIS region. ArcelorMittal has steel-making operations in 18 countries on four continents, including 47 integrated and mini-mill steel-making facilities. As of December 31, 2017, ArcelorMittal had approximately 197,000 employees.
ArcelorMittal’s steel-making operations have a high degree of geographic diversification. Approximately 37% of its crude steel is produced in the Americas, approximately 46% is produced in Europe and approximately 16% is produced in other countries, such as Kazakhstan, South Africa and Ukraine. In addition, ArcelorMittal’s sales of steel products are spread over both developed and developing markets, which have different consumption characteristics. ArcelorMittal’s mining operations, present in North and South America, Africa, Europe and the CIS region, are integrated with its global steel-making facilities and are important producers of iron ore and coal in their own right.
- Flat steel products: Hot rolled coil, Cold rolled coil, Hot rolled plate, Galvanized coil
- Long steel products: Steel bars, steel beams, steel column, Square, Round steel bar, Reinforcing bar, Structural sections
- Volume of steel production: 63.8 millions of tonnes.
- Website: corporate.arcelormittal.com
Thyssenkrupp AG is a German multinational conglomerate focusing on steel production. The company is based in Duisburg and Essen and divided into 670 subsidiaries worldwide. It is one of the world’s largest steel producers; it was ranked fifteenth-largest steel supplier by volume of steel produced in 2016.
In addition to steel production, Thyssenkrupp’s products range from machines and industrial services to high-speed trains, elevators and shipbuilding. The subsidiary Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems manufactures frigates, corvettes and submarines for German and foreign navies.
- Flat steel products: Steel plate, Flat sheet, Marine Sheet, Tread Plate.
- Long steel products: Flat and square bars, Flats bar, Round bar
- Packaging steel, Electrical Steel, Organic coated strip and sheet.
- Volume of steel production: 17.2 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.thyssenkrupp.com
2.3. Novolipetsk Steel
Novolipetsk Steel, or NLMK, is one of the four largest steel companies in Russia. NLMK’s share of domestic crude steel production is about 21%. It primary produces flat steel products, semi-finished steel products and electrical steels. NLMK also produces specialty coated steels, plus high-ductility and micro-alloyed steels.
NLMK Group is consistently a financially stable business. Having completed the investment phase of its development, NLMK Group turned its focus to increasing the efficiency of its business processes, developing its resource base, strengthening its positions in strategic markets and enhancing production safety. Structural savings of $547 million in 2014-2016, generated by operational efficiency programmes have increased business profitability.
- Flat steel product: Hot-rolled steel, Cold-rolled steel, Galvanized steel, pre-painted steel
- Long steel product: Wire rod, metalware, sections, rebar, billets. Heavy plate
- Volume of steel production: 16.64 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.nlmk.com
EVRAZ is a vertically integrated steel, mining and vanadium business with operations in the Russian Federation, USA, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy and Kazakhstan. EVRAZ is among the top steel producers in the world based on crude steel production of 14 million tonnes in 2017. A significant portion of the company’s internal consumption of iron ore and coking coal is covered by its mining operations. The Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100. EVRAZ employs approximately 70,000 people. The company’s consolidated revenues for the year ended 31 December 2017 were US$10,827 million, and consolidated EBITDA amounted to US$2,624 million.
EVRAZ includes Manufacturing steel and Steel products, iron ore mining and enrichment, Coal mining, Manufacturing Vanadium products, Trading operation and Logistics.
- Steel products: Railway steel, Hot-rolled steel, Cold-rolled steel, hot-rolled angle, steel i-beam, round bar, square bar, wire.
- Volume of steel production: 13.53 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.evraz.com
2.5. Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK)
MMK is one of the world’s largest steel producers and a leading Russian metals company.
The company’s operations in Russia include a large steel producing complex encompassing the entire production chain, from preparation of iron ore to downstream processing of rolled steel. MMK turns out a broad range of steel products with a predominant share of high-value-added products.
In 2016 MMK Group produced 12,5 million tonnes of crude steel and 11,6 million tonnes of commercial steel products. MMK Group had sales in 2016 of USD 5,630 million and EBITDA of USD 1,956 million.
- Long products: Wire rod, Square bar, round bar, strips, rebars
- Flat products: Hot-rolled coils, hot-rolled sheet, cold-rolled coils, cold-rolled sheets, black plate.
- Tin plate, galvanized products, U-beam, Angles, Pipes.
- Volume of steel production: 12.54 millions of tonnes.
- Website: eng.mmk.ru
3. Top steel suppliers in America
3.1. Gerdau S.A
Gerdau, headquartered in Sao Paulo is the largest producer of long steel in the Americas, with steel mills in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Peru, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. It also holds a 40% stake in the Spanish company Sidenor. Currently, Gerdau has an installed capacity of 26 million metric tons of steel per year and offers steel for the civil construction, automobile, industrial, agricultural and various sectors. Gerdau is also the world’s 14th largest steelmaker. It has 337 industrial and commercial units and more than 45,000 employees across 14 countries.
Gerdau’s core business is to transform steel scrap and iron ore into steel products.Gerdau is a leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the largest suppliers of special steel in the world. It is the largest recycler in Latin America and around the world it transforms, each year, millions of metric tons of scrap into steel, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable development in the regions where it operates. With more than 140,000 shareholders, the Company is listed on the stock exchanges of São Paulo, New York and Madrid.
- Steel product: Structural pipe, rebar, Galvanized roofing, beams, column, angle, billet, cold rolled seamed tubing, round bar, wire rod.
- Volume of steel production: 15.95 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.gerdau.com
3.2. United States Steel Corporation
The United States Steel Corporation, more commonly known as U.S. Steel, is an American integrated steel producer headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with production operations in the United States, Canada, and Central Europe. As of 2016, the company was the world’s 24th largest steel producer and second largest domestic producer, trailing only Nucor Corporation.
Though renamed USX Corporation in 1986, the company returned to its present name in 2001 after spinning off its energy business, including Marathon Oil, and other assets from its core steel concern. The company experienced significant downsizing during the 1980s; a decline in market capitalization resulted in its removal from the S&P 500 Index in 2014.
- Steel Product: Galvanized sheet, hot-rolled sheet/strip, cold-rolled sheet/strip, flat-rolled steel, tubular steel.
- Volume of steel production: 154.22 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.ussteel.com
3.3. Techint Group
Techint is an Italian-Argentine conglomerate founded in Milan in 1945 by Italian industrialist Agostino Rocca and headquartered in Milan (Italy) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). Today the Techint Group is composed of six main companies with an international reach, all global or regional leaders in their fields, in the following areas of business: engineering, construction, steel, mining, oil & gas, industrial plants, healthcare. Techint, with its subsidiaries, is the largest steel making company in Latin America. Techint is the world’s largest manufacturer of seamless steel tubes, mainly used in the oil industry.
With an annual production capacity of approximately 11 million tons of finished steel products and 16,700 employees, Ternium has production facilities located in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, the United States, as well as a network of service and distribution centers in Latin America. In addition, Ternium participates in the control group of Usiminas, a Brazilian steel company.
- Steel product: Turbular steel, Flat-rolled steel
- Volume of steel production: 7.98 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.techint.com
3.4. AK Steel Holding Corporation
AK Steel Holding Corporation is a steelmaking company headquartered in West Chester Township, Butler County, Ohio. The company’s name is derived from the initials of Armco, its predecessor company, and Kawasaki Steel Corporation, which contributed several of its production facilities to the company in 1989 in exchange for a large stake in the company.
The company operates 8 steel plants and 2 tube manufacturing plants. The steel plants are in Ashland, Kentucky, Butler, Pennsylvania, Coshocton, Ohio, Dearborn, Michigan, Mansfield, Ohio, Middletown, Ohio, Rockport, Indiana, and Zanesville, Ohio.
Of the company’s 2016 sales, 66% was to the automotive industry, 16% was to infrastructure and manufacturing industry, and 18% was to distributors and converters
- Steel Products: Carbon steel, Stainless steel, Electrical steel, Tubular products.
- Volume of Steel production: 5.05 millions of tonnes.
3.5. Altos Hornos de Mexico, S.A.B. de C.V. (AHMSA)
Altos Hornos de Mexico, S.A.B. de C.V. (AHMSA) is the largest integrated steel plant in Mexico. It has corporate offices in Monclova, Coahuila, in the center of the Mexican state of Coahuila, 155 miles from the United States border
Ahmsa’s main steelmaking facilities and corporate offices are located in Monclova, Coahuila, close to transportation lines, raw materials supplies, principal points of export, and the company’s major domestic markets. AHMSA operates at an annual production rate of 3.5 million metric tons of liquid steel, with a workforce of 22,250 people, including its subsidiary companies.
- Steel products: Hot-rolled steel, cold-rolled steel, structural steel, tin plate, tin-free steel.
- Volume of steel production: 4.65 millions of tonnes.
- Website: www.ahmsa.com
III. Best Techniques to Verify Your Wholesale Suppliers
“Is this guy legit?”
This is, no doubt, one of the biggest questions for any steel buyer when brooding upon the question of where to buy steel. In general, you can verify a supplier with these simple tips:
– Proactively checking verification, using techniques listed under business registration verification, phone number and address verification, financial checking, reputation checking and website authentication.
– Get updated of potential risks and red flags in areas such as product knowledge and transaction practices.
If you are generous, in both “cash and time”, you can pursue a higher level of verification. We have put together a list of best techniques you can use to verify your wholesale suppliers
1. Business Registration
Every company, regardless of country, has a business registration number. Do not hesitate to ask your supplier to seorgeries and you proof of its registration. However, a registration document is not enough. Document forgery is simple and common. The registration number is your first step.
For the next step, you need to locate the business verification site in the country where the company is registered and check the legitimacy of the number you have been provided. Here are some of the major sites you need to know:
With a small fee, using D&B- Dun & Bradstreet -Global Risk, Credit, Sales, Marketing, and Supplier Management Solutions allow you run a credit check on any registered company worldwide by u
US Corporate records by state can be found at Research RoundUp: Business Filings Databases Updated | LLRX.com. If the company is publicly traded, you can check at Filings & Forms.
it may not be easy to verify a business registration number for a Chinese company. Every legal company in China has to register with the Chinese government and obtain a unique company number so it is advisable that you first get your Chinese supplier’s business registration number, then verify the number with the Chinese government.
Dealing with the government has never been easy, therefore, this tip may be easier said than done. The primary registration body is the Bureau of Industry & Commerce. They are the only government agency responsible for the registration of legitimate companies or enterprises in China and have local authorities at the provincial level throughout China. However, their sites are only in Chinese (http://www.csaic.gov.cn) so they are not accessible to most non-Chinese speaking people.
Here is a list of a number of verification sites in China you can use to check if a company is known:
You may think about Chinese Yellow pages. Unfortunately, the Yellow Pages is not as favoured as in other countries so if you can not find the supplier listed, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that it is a shady business.
Another option you have for China based suppliers is ICP number verification. Every Chinese company with a website must have and display an ICP number on their homepage. ICP number can be particularly helpful as it allow you to locate the website ownership, and find out if there have been any complaints about the supplier.
TIP: As the language barrier is the biggest headache in most of the case, try contacting your local business association, e.g., Chamber of Commerce or small business administration to find a Chinese translator. They can help you to check the registration number with a small fee. If the number is valid, ask for the whole page associated with the company to be translated, or use Google Translate.
To find a verification website in another country, Vietnam for example, use www.google.com, and type “google vietnam” in the search bar, to find the google Vietnam website, then check “only English pages” to refine your search results. Then type “verify company” for access to the country’s verification agency or agencies.
CAUTION: Scam artists register their companies so it’s very likely that you will find a middleman or scam artist listed as a legitimate business. However, most scammers don’t make it past one year so finding out how long the company has been in business is a good strategy. If the business has a track record that is longer than one year, that’s a good sign.
If you don’t find such service, ask your wholesaler for the address, phone number and fax of the chamber of commerce/business where their company is registered.
You can make use of an international company’s consulate in your country or your embassy or consulate in their country. Contact the appropriate group and ask if they are familiar with the company. The representative you speak with may not have personal knowledge of the company but will likely have access to lists of legitimate companies in the country as well as scammers.
2. Email Address
It’s not rare to find scammers impersonating a legitimate company by using a free email address. Therefore, it is important verify that the email address the company’s representative is writing from is in fact owned by the company. Contact the company from their official website and ask them to confirm that the email you are corresponding with belongs to them.
3. Visiting Subsidiaries in Your Country
Ask if the supplier has an office in your country. Large legitimate suppliers often set up offices in major trading countries with staff who can sign contracts, accept deliveries and generally make sure to smooth the way. The lack of a local office does not necessarily mean that the wholesaler is not legitimate, however.
There’s a lot of free information on the Internet.
- Search on the company’s name and the word “scam” “complaints” “refund” or “fraud” in several search engines. Example search strings you can use:
Carefully evaluate any information that you find.
- Check to see if the company has been vetted on any of the major wholesale directories.
Be aware, however, that sites which rely on advertising revenue often exchange ads for listings. This means that listed suppliers may not have been vetted; they simply placed advertising on the site. It is safer to rely on sites that have a serious vetting process that you may have to pay to access. These sites have the expertise to verify a supplier’s status and that’s generally worth a membership cost.
- Ask participants on this forum if they have any feedback about the supplier. You can pick up a lot of good information from people in the field that way.
CAUTION: You cannot always expect an answer in a public forum. Good wholesale sources are strong proprietary information and you won’t find traders giving that information away publicly. However, if you send a private email to a forum contributor and ask if they have any personal knowledge, you may well get an honest, private response.
- Ask the supplier for customer references from buyers in a developed country, including the reference company name, contact person, business address and contact number.
Check the references by phoning them; call them at several times of the day and ask for general information. In addition to speaking with the reference company by phone, do the research to be sure they are legitimate, e.g., search for a website. Be aware that this method may not always be effective. Some suppliers may be unwilling to provide information on their customers or they may worry that you are a competitor trying to take business away from them.
- Use Whois lookup and Domain name search to verify who has registered the supplier’s web domain name. If the contact information provided publicly is different from the contact information offered by the supplier, ask for an explanation and evaluate their response.
- Legitimate company websites have authentic photos of product inventory. You can check the legitimacy of photos by right-clicking on a photo and selecting “properties” in the menu that opens. The images should have an address that originates within the website. If the address originates elsewhere, the actual wholesaler is probably at that base domain address.
6. Product Info Red Flags
Wholesalers should be experts in the products they are selling. If your wholesaler is fuzzy on specifics, look again before you buy.
- If you know the specific product you want to sell, find the manufacturer and ask for a list of authorized wholesalers. You can find the product manufacturer’s name by looking on the product packaging, or sometimes the name of the official importer of the product. Call the manufacturer’s or importer’s sales division and ask for a list of authorized wholesalers to check whether your wholesaler is on their authorised list.
- A legitimate wholesaler will be aware of any certifications that are necessary to sell a product in your country and will be able to demonstrate compliance. Go to a store and look at similar products. Identify any required labeling or certifications. Ask the wholesaler for evidence that products have received the appropriate certifications.
- Ask technical questions about the product you are looking to buy. Test the supplier’s knowledge of the product. Ask about the features included. Be cautious when a supplier always replies positively to your requests for product features, it is often an indication the supplier only wants to get your order as quickly as possible, either because they are a scammer or because the goods you are being sold do not match your requirements.
7. Transaction Red Flags
If your suppliers operate very differently than most wholesalers, you should consider taking a second look.
- Legitimate wholesalers will not require a membership fee; they make their money on the markup from selling goods to you, not on additional fees. However, a legitimate wholesaler may ask for a small, refundable setup fee. This fee deters non-serious buyers from creating an account that will never be used. In this type of transaction, the setup fee is usually credited on the first order.
- Legitimate wholesalers are not usually out on the Internet trying to entice you to do business with them. While wholesalers are usually glad to sign on new customers, you will not find them actively seeking you out; that behavior is much more typical of scammers who are spending a lot of advertising money to find you and lure you into a bogus arrangement.
- One of the many scams on the Internet offers you a fully operational website that is stocked with the “wholesaler’s” products. This arrangement sounds like a dream come true but it’s really not true at all. You will find yourself hopelessly burdened with hosting and other fees while selling the same products as thousands of others.
- A supplier who is setting up an account for you should request your tax ID number; any legitimate wholesaler needs that ID number as proof that you are a retailer and therefore entitled to wholesale pricing. If this information is not part of the requested data exchange, you are not dealing with a legitimate wholesaler.
CAUTION: These pointers may not definitively tell you whether you have a legitimate wholesaler or a scammer. The point is to combine the pieces of information into a bigger picture that either makes you feel comfortable moving forward or causes you to reconsider.
IV. Simple Tips That Make Buying Steel Wholesale Easier
1. How to buy steel wholesale
- Step 1: Prepare all necessary tax documents and license in order
- Step 2: Decide how much you want to buy.
In wholesale, volume is absolutely important. That’s because the more you agree to buy wholesale, the lower the unit price.
- Step 3: Find and research your wholesale suppliers
- Step 4: Network to find deals.
Networking is an essential part of building up a successful business. Talk with other people who have successfully bought wholesale products and made deals to grow your list of contacts.
- Step 5: Participating in professional groups offering wholesale prices.
These groups, which often extend a discount to members, can be listed in industry publications or websites or may be affiliated with the company where you work.
- Step 6: After you’ve discovered a reputable source of wholesale merchandise, go through available inventory to match your needs with their inventory
- Step 7: Request an itemized list of what’s on the pallet/truckload.
- Step 8: Start off with a trial order a 25 – 50 tons at the minimum.
- Step 9: Pay attention to how you’ll ship your items
- Step 10: Do your due diligence before you finalize any order.
As most wholesale merchandise is sold “as is, where is”, you’ll need to clarify the seller’s return policy, solidify processing time, and take advantage of any discounts.
2. 05 Questions to Ask Your Steel Supplier
After you solve the question of where to buy steel, now it’s time to dive deeper into what you can do to ensure that you and your supplier undertand each other clearly.
1. What will my total costs be?
After a supplier gives you a quotation for the cost of a product or materials, be sure to ask about other fees. For example, will you have to pay delivery fees, fuel surcharges or restocking charges for returns? “Have [suppliers] go back to the contract and identify any line item that is going to cost you money”
2. Can you give me a liability insurance certificate?
You should require your suppliers to provide written proof that they have adequate liability insurance in the event that their products or parts malfunction. Make sure that you get a new copy of the liability insurance certificate each year to make sure the policy is being renewed.
3. Can we have a sell-through guarantee?
Nobody wants to get stuck with a finished product that flops or the parts and raw materials for a product that simply refuses to generate any revenue for you. Talk to your suppliers about their return policies. In these circumstances, sell-through guarantee can be brought onto the negotiation table so that you can get the opportunity to return unsold products or materials, whether for credit or cash.
4. What happens to me if my orders do not arrive?
It’s inevitable that orders will sometimes arrive late. But what happens then? It’s advisable that you ask your suppliers whether they can offer a discount for goods that don’t arrive on time or payment for goods they didn’t deliver and you have to get from another supplier.
5. Under what circumstance might prices change?
It’s not rare to see dispute happen between suppliers and customers when Suppliers to unexpectedly spring price increases. Make sure you are well-prepared for this scenario by asking them what causes a change in price. Is it tied to inflation or an industry index? If prices go up, how soon will you be notified? Conversely, if a supplier’s own costs go down, will your price go down, too?