Winning in Vegas: three different trade shows brought recyclers to Las Vegas in March. (Conventions Wrap Up).
And just two weeks after these shows, concrete crushing machines, mobile material handling equipment and other equipment used by recyclers was on display in large quantities at the 2002 ConExpo/Con-Agg Show.
While attendees of the three March trade shows most likely enjoyed some of the night life in Las Vegas, there was also plenty of business to conduct.
At ISRI, 180 booth spaces worth of exhibit area were rented by exhibitors displaying products and services to scrap recyclers, and most exhibitors were pleased with the number of serious inquiries they received from attendees. With scrap metal demand and pricing starting to inch up around the same time as the show, metals traders and processors and their suppliers seemed a little more optimistic.
At commodity-focused sessions, attendees heard hopeful news regarding a rebound in ferrous scrap and aluminum prices, while copper prices may continue to be held down by an overcapacity of mined material. Lead may enjoy an overdue price revival, while the market may remain difficult for zinc.
Speaking to attendees of the Spotlight on Copper, Steven J. Butler of Asarco was blunt in saying it is a difficult time to be in the copper industry. Phoenix-based Asarco experienced "consistent losses and negative cash flow in 2001," said Butler, who added that "no one anticipated a three percent to 3.5 percent decrease in demand in 2001."
Butler said there is an upside potential for copper, however, with the resurgence of the economies of the former Soviet Union as one hopeful factor. "I believe they're about five years behind the Chinese in terms of [developing] a market," said Butler. "The infrastructure is there for those countries to experience tremendous growth."
He noted that a few years ago Chinese buyers would go in and out of the market quickly, much like Russian buyers today.
John E. Gross of J.E. Gross & Associates, Huntington, N.Y., predicted that copper consumption will be back on the rise this year, but that the increased demand will not lead to rapidly rising prices. "Copper consumption should rise, reflecting a stronger economy, but the bad news is there are still record high inventories," he remarked.
Gross predicted that copper prices would average slightly higher in 2002, perhaps in the 75 cents per pound range. Once current inventories are worked through, recent production cutbacks could again lead to the days of $1.00 per pound copper, he remarked. "It's not unrealistic to say we could see $1.00 per pound copper again--maybe in a year or two."
LME CONTRACT GAINS SUPPORT
In aluminum news, three significant players in the aluminum scrap market declared their support for the new London Metal Exchange (LME) contract for secondary aluminum.
Representatives from General Motors, Detroit; Wabash Alloys LLC, Wabash, Ind.; and OmniSource Corp., Fort Wayne, Ind.; told attendees of an ISRI session that their companies would be conducting transactions pegged to the new LME price.
The LME unveiled the North American Special Aluminum Alloy Contract (NASAAC) in early March. LME director of operations Neil Banks says the contract was "tailored with a specification to meet North American [chemistry] requirements." The contract also features five U.S. delivery points for materials with the modified aluminum 380.1 specifications.
"We're going to support the NASAAC," declared Daniel Bealko, a global commodity manager with General Motors. "We will switch our pricing ... by January of 2003. It's just a more applicable, effective contract."
Bruce Warshauer, president of Wabash Alloys, indicated that the nation's largest secondary smelting company would be making a similar switch. "We support the contract and have already purchased [based on the] contract since it started March 4," he noted.
Cindy Brooks, a trader with OmniSource Corp., says the scrap company views the NASAAC as "another tool to help us manage our risk." Brooks says OmniSource, which also runs the Superior Aluminum Alloys secondary smelter in New Haven, Ind., has viewed trading as too thin on the previous LME contract.
In organizational news, ISRI installed its new officers, with Charles "Cricket" Williams Jr. of Charles Williams & Son Inc., Richmond, Va., replacing Sam W. Hummelstein of Hummelstein Iron & Metal Co., Little Rock, Ark., as chair of the organization for the next two years.
Additionally, two new scrap specifications for nonferrous shredder residue material were approved by the ISRI board. "Zeppelin" is the name for "light density nonferrous metals produced by media separation technology and [containing] thin gauge aluminum and magnesium."
"Zebra" is the name designated for nonferrous metals produced by media separation technology that also contains brass, copper, zinc, non-magnetic stainless steel and copper wire.
The 2002 ISRI Annual Convention has been scheduled for April 8 through 12 at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla. The hotel complex has served as home to the convention in the past, most recently in April of 1999.
The recycling component of their business continues to be a major one for the nation's demolition contractors, who gathered for the NADC Convention at The Mirage.
The NADC, Doylestown, Pa., has more than 700 U.S. and Canadian demolition contracting firms as its members, along with some 200 supplying companies with associate membership status. Among those exhibiting and attending were recycling equipment makers and buyers of salvageable and scrap material.
This year's convention in Las Vegas brought many of those members together to browse an exhibit hall displaying a variety of equipment used on the demolition job site. The convention also featured several sessions on industry topics.
Honored at the 2002 convention was LaVerne Sessler, founder of Sessler Wrecking, Waterloo, N.Y. Sessler has spent more than 40 years in the demolition industry, specializing in bridge demolition. In 2000, the company was awarded a patent for its process for demolishing a bridge structure.
As with ISRI, next year's NADC Convention will be in Orlando, March 30 to April 3 ,at the Renaissance Orlando Resort.
Recyclers and demolition contractors were among those attending the largest trade show so far in 2002--ConExpoCon/Agg, which took place March 19-23 in and around the Las Vegas Convention Center.
As with previous shows, the impressive array of equipment deployed in several outdoor lots was visible from blocks away. The event, held every three years, drew more than 110,000 attendees in 2002, with international attendees accounting for 14 percent of that total.
More than 2,100 exhibiting companies used more than 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space. Attendees could also attend a variety of educational sessions, some covering recycling topics.
Several trade groups also hosted their annual meetings in coordination with ConExpo, including the Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA), Lisle, Ill. CMRA executive director Bill Turley says the arrangement worked out well for his members, most of whom had an interest in taking in the equipment exhibits.