BLUESCOPE is exporting tens of thousands of tonnes of steel to the United States from its Western Port base in a growth surge the company says has helped it create 150 jobs over the past year.
Last week 10,000 tonnes of steel was shipped from Hastings to the West Coast port of Longbeach – later to be galvanised or pre-painted for various applications, such as building, general manufacturing or car making.
BlueScope is able to sell to the US through its Steelscope joint venture because Australia has, so far, escaped tariffs imposed on other countries’ steel exports by US President Donald Trump.
Western Port plant manager Mike Hussey said BlueScope was exporting about 200,000 tonnes a year – a “significant increase” on previous years.
“There’s been a concerted effort by the company to find overseas markets in the wake of the shutdown of the car making industry here,” he said.
“We are always on the lookout for alternative markets through our sales and marketing departments, although the domestic market is still our main focus.”
Industry and employment minister Ben Carroll said the jobs’ increase highlighted the strength of the state’s steel manufacturing industry. He visited the Western Port plant which produces coated and painted steel products, including Colorbond steel.
BlueScope said the state government was using Australian-made steel in major road and rail infrastructure projects.