Stemcor, the world’s largest independent steel trader, has chosen Antwerp as its European distribution hub.
The decision is a major boost for the Belgian port as rival Rotterdam steps up efforts to bolster its European steel market share.
U.K.-based Stemcor signed a long-term contract with Antwerp terminal operator Katoen Natie for the handling and storage of steel in a custom-built distribution center.
The privately held company, which has annual revenue approaching $10 billion, said a central European hub linked to local warehouses in France, Germany and Scandinavia will enable it to serve its customers more efficiently. “These customers are situated within a radius of 650 kilometers of the Port of Antwerp, resulting in shorter delivery times,” Stemcor Group Stockholding Director Robert Van der Weck said. “By providing a number of added value services, such as cutting and handling, we are able to offer our customers even more choice.”
Stemcor’s choice of Antwerp “was based on a business analysis aimed at optimising the entire supply chain, from steel plant to customer,” said Luc Arnouts, chief commercial officer of the Antwerp Port Authority. “Our inland location in the heart of Europe (brings) shippers closer to the European consumers.”
Antwerp handled more than 10 million metric tons of steel and steel products in 2011.