March 14 - Ratner Steel Supply Co, a producer of steel products, recently announced plans to locate a new facility at the Port of Indiana, USA.

The Roseville-based company, which produces steel sheets and plates, will invest USD14.25 million to build and equip a 102,000 sq ft (9,476.11 sq m) steel service facility located at the Lake Michigan port. Construction on the facility will begin later this month with the facility slated to be operational in early 2013.

"Having a Minnesota-based company like Ratner Steel decide to open a facility in Indiana reinforces our magnetic appeal to companies across the Midwest," said Dan Hasler, secretary of commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "More and more companies are finding our pro-business, low-tax environment advantageous to their growth."

The Port of Indiana is now home to 30 companies, including 16 steel-related firms, which benefit from the facility's multimodal connections, specialised services and foreign-trade zone status.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the Finnish company Ruukki, which specialises in energy-efficient steel solutions, has selected Antwerp, Belgium, as its European distribution hub.

As a result of this decision the company will use Antwerp as the port of discharge for regular weekly shipments from Finland. The steel will be stored and handled in Antwerp, from where it will be transported to overseas destinations and the European hinterland.

Ruukki will work with the logistics group Thor Shipping & Transport and Antwerp Stevedoring International, the stevedoring division of Wijngaard Natie.

Port alderman Marc Van Peel says: "It is highly significant that a leading steel solutions company such as Ruukki has chosen Antwerp as its distribution hub. Our expertise in steel handling, the advanced facilities for this and of course the wide range of distribution possibilities are decisive advantages."

After a successful test voyage in December, Ruukki has been sending weekly consignments of steel to Antwerp from the city of Raahe in Northern Finland. The various steel products are unloaded and loaded in Wijngaard Natie's covered All Weather Terminal in the Albert dock, where high-value goods can be handled under protection from wind and rain. The terminal is also equipped with modern warehouses where the temperature and humidity can be controlled to suit the goods that are stored there. Various other companies in the vicinity for their part specialise in handling, decoiling, cutting, inspecting, labelling, packaging, loading and transporting steel products.

Thor Shipping & Transport is a specialised international provider of integrated logistics services that provides support to steel trade and industry in the areas of land transport, sea transport & logistics.

With offices in Antwerp, Belgium; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa; and Vasteras, Sweden; TST serves the needs of manufacturing companies providing full-service, seamless solutions to the complexities of supply chain management and assisting clients to achieve a greater return on assets.

Wijngaard Natie's commodity base is iron and steel, project cargoes, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and it offers terminal operations and stevedoring, maritime packing, worldwide forwarding and logistics, transport and warehousing.