Navigating the world of minor metals with Steinweg

Steinweg plays a crucial role in the logistics and storage of minor metals and related products. With locations worldwide, we offer comprehensive logistical services and possess expertise in transporting and storing minor metals. From release, based on strict Chain of Custody procedures, to door-to-door shipping by container, truck, or air freight, we ensure safe and efficient handling. Our facilities in Baltimore, Antwerp, and Rotterdam are accredited by the Minor Metals Trade Association (MMTA) and meet stringent control and safety requirements. This has earned the trust of our clients, major international banks and insurance companies. In this article, we explore four key locations for minor metals: Antwerp, Baltimore, Rotterdam, and Shanghai. Colleagues on-site share their insights into the role of minor metals at their locations and emphasize the importance of international collaboration within the global network of Steinweg locations.

Marco de Bakker, Steinweg Netherlands

With over 30 years of experience in minor metals, with Steinweg since 2017, Marco brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Minor metals such as cobalt, molybdenum, vanadium, and tantalum play a crucial role in Steinweg Netherlands’ operations, he explains. “Although they are often by-products of the smelting process of base metals, they are an important part of Steinweg’s overall service offering”.

Regarding Steinweg’s experience with minor metals, Marco says: “We have built up more than 176 years of expertise in the logistics and storage sector. This knowledge makes us a reliable partner for clients. Traditionally, the Netherlands and Belgium have been the hubs for minor metals in Europe, while Baltimore serves as the hub for the United States. Many minor metals come from China, making it an important location for us.” Collaboration between various locations worldwide is essential for effective logistical services, he emphasizes. “It’s not just about the physical aspect of transport and storage, we also share knowledge and work together on smart solutions that perfectly fit with our clients need.”

As the industry evolves, Marco sees new challenges and opportunities emerging. “Recycling is playing an increasingly important role”, Marco explains. “We cannot extract new metals from the ground endlessly, so the reuse of materials is becoming increasingly important.” The interesting thing is that recycling imposes different requirements on the transport and storage of minor metals. “For example, you have to consider specific regulations and permits for transporting waste materials. The logistics and management of these materials are also completely different from those of new produced metals. That means we must continually adapt and improve our processes to meet these new requirements.”

Tomasz Lembas, Steinweg Baltimore

Tomasz highlights Baltimore’s strategic location, serving as a gateway to 35% of the American manufacturing base, reachable within one night. He explains: “From a logistical point of view, this is the best gateway for all minor metals entering the East Coast, given the location of their production.”

Steinweg Baltimore has been a member of the Minor Metals Trade Association (MMTA) since 1992, emphasizing their commitment to quality and integrity throughout the supply chain. “We are very customer-oriented and always ensure quality and integrity throughout the supply chain.” Regarding collaboration with Steinweg’s global network, Tomasz emphasizes the close ties with colleagues in other regions. “We maintain close relationships with our colleagues elsewhere, enabling us to exchange information in order to be flexible in dealing with changes in logistics.”

Tomasz also underscores the increasing role of minor metals in the economy, particularly within the renewable energy sector, which is amplifying the significance of this commodity within Steinweg Baltimore’s portfolio. As renewable energy initiatives continue to expand, the demand for minor metals is on the rise, positioning Baltimore as a pivotal hub for these essential resources.

Charles Reynolds-Payne, Steinweg Belgium

In Antwerp, Belgium, Steinweg has a longstanding presence in the international trade of minor metals. Charles Reynolds-Payne, the Commercial Director of Steinweg Antwerp, sheds light on the historical significance of Belgium in this industry. “Belgium has always been a pivotal hub for minor metals, dating back to pre-World War II times”, Charles explains. In addition to serving as a key hub for international trade, Antwerp also hosts a significant amount of minor metals trading within Belgium itself. “Many companies in Belgium are actively involved in the production, processing, and distribution of minor metals, contributing to the vibrant trade ecosystem in the region.”

Charles also delves into the evolving dynamics of international trade, noting shifts in global flows of minor metals. “Traditionally, we’ve seen significant trade from Asia and South America, but African origins are also prominent”, he remarks. Charles highlights the geographical advantage of Antwerp in facilitating these flows. “Antwerp’s proximity to key production and consumption centers enables efficient trade routes, making it a preferred destination for traders”, he states. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of Antwerp as a crucial gateway to France, facilitating trade routes and contributing to the smooth flow of goods into the country.

In terms of infrastructure, Charles confirms that Steinweg’s warehouses in Antwerp are officially approved facilities, compliant with industry standards. “Our warehouses are fully accredited by the MMTA and have been serving the industry for decades”, he notes. “While I can’t pinpoint the exact year they were established, they have been an integral part of Antwerp’s trading ecosystem for many years.” Through Charles’s insights, it becomes evident that Antwerp continues to play a vital role in the global trade of minor metals, leveraging its historical legacy, strategic location, and collaborative networks to drive the industry forward.

Lily Zheng, Steinweg Shanghai

Lily discusses the growing importance of minor metals, such as Cobalt, Lithium, and Niobium: “Especially Cobalt and Lithium are in growing demand due to the energy transition. These metals are used not only for production but also by end-users, leading to increased activity in the Chinese market.”

She points out the unique role of Shanghai as a Steinweg location specializing in minor metals: “Although volumes in Shanghai are modest compared to hubs like Rotterdam and Antwerp, our role as a production hub for certain minor metals is becoming more prominent.” Lily adds, “For example, we handle cargoes such as cobalt, which are frequently processed in Shanghai for both domestic and international distribution. Additionally, metals like niobium are also important due to their high value and versatility.”

Lily talks about the uniform collaboration between Steinweg’s global locations and adherence to the same procedures. “At Steinweg, we maintain the same approach and strict quality standards everywhere. Customers trust this consistency and prefer to work with us, especially in international trade, such as minor metals.” She adds, “This collaboration not only helps build trust but also enables us to efficiently meet various customer needs, whether it’s transporting and storing minor metals or other raw materials.”

Warehouse Shanghai

Published on: April 17th