3/12/2013 — The US is expected to continue being the world’s top exporter of steel scrap for a number of reasons, according to panelists speaking Monday at Platts second annual scrap seminar in Chicago.

A sophisticated supply chain, favorable trade policies and most importantly, an abundance of scrap, should keep the US in the top spot, the speakers said.

“The US has become the go-to source for scrap,” said Lynn Lupori-Gray, managing consultant for Hatch Consulting. “Many countries have taken a protectionary stance in terms of ferrous scrap, as seen by numerous export taxes, duties and restrictions that exist today.”

The US exported about 24.33 million mt of scrap in 2011 – an all-time high. Scrap exports declined 12% in 2012 to 21.39 million, but the US remains far and away the top exporter of the material.

“North America is forecasted to remains scrap rich over the next decade and beyond and scrap generation continues to exceed scrap demand,” Lupori-Gray said. “The scrap reservoir is only going up.”

Turkey is the largest importer of US scrap, and Mexico is expected to become a major importer in the near term, according to Brian Williams, director of business development for Flack Steel.

Williams anticipates Turkey to continue being the top importer of steel scrap and for Mexico scrap imports to grow from 700,000 mt in 2012 to 4 million mt by 2016, with 90% of Mexican scrap imports coming from the US.