Nippon Steel has decided to temporarily idle its blast furnace in Kimitsu, in eastern Japan by mid-May in response to an immediate and sharp drop in steel demand in both the domestic and exports markets, according to the company’s release on April 21. After idling two of its blast furnaces in early April, the company is preparing to temporarily shut its third blast furnace next month.
The company has lowered its overall crude steel output to match deteriorating steel demand amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Japan. In line with the reduction in blast furnace volume and substantial reduction of their operating rates, the company likely to adjust or suspend production of some of the coke ovens at the East Nippon Works’ Kimitsu area. Preparations for this are already being executed.
Nippon Steel is the world’s third-biggest steelmaker and the largest in Japan with a total 15 blast furnaces. In early April, Nippon announced the temporary suspension of two blast furnaces, cutting about a-tenth of its capacity, after a sharp drop in steel demand. It has lowered the tapping ratio of two blast furnaces and extended the time between blasting.
The Japanese government has extended its national emergency by another two weeks till May 6, as the next week is Golden Week with a series of Japanese national holidays.
Nippon Steel’s Banking operation schedule
|Name of works||Location||Blast Furnace||Date|
|Setouchi works||Kure area||No. 2||Feb. 15,2020|
|East Nippon works||Kashima area||No. 1||Apr. 15, 2020|
|Kansai works||Wakayama area||No. 1||late April 2020|