The U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) has imposed new duties of up to 63% on some Chinese aluminum wire and cable imports because of what was described as “price-dumping.”
Per a cited DoC statement, “(DoC) announced the affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of imports of aluminum wire and cable from China, finding that exporters from China have dumped aluminum wire and cable in the United States at a margin of 58.51 to 63.47 percent."
Encore Wire Chairman, President and CEO Daniel Jones welcomed the decision, noting that, "These illegal trade practices have undermined our investments in aluminum wire production, which is an important complement to our market-leading copper wire business."
A fact sheet accompanying the notice reported that U.S. imports of aluminum wire and cable from China were valued at more than $157 million in 2017. U.S. customs and border agents will begin collecting cash deposits from importers of these products at the same rates to offset unfair Chinese subsidies, the Commerce Department said.
The Trump administration, reports said, has initiated 168 investigations of unfair trade practices since taking office, more than double the number during a comparable period of the previous administration, according to the release.
LS Cable & System President & CEO Myung Roe-Hyun announced that the company has opened a new cable plant in Poland, its first production base in Europe.
A press release said that the plant is the first such one for a South Korean company in Europe, “the home of cable.” The plant produces parts for electric vehicle batteries and optical cables for communication. More than 100 people, including Cha-Yup Koo, chairman of LS Cable & System; Roe-Hyun; Lee Dong-Wook, CEO of LS C & S Poland; Dariusz Kucharski, mayor of Dzierzoniow; and Mira Sun, Korean ambassador to Poland, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“LS C & S is pushing ahead with its localization and regional base strategy,” Roe-Hyun said. “The Polish plant will serve as the key base for advancing into Europe, and transform the company into a total cable company by adding the power cable business.”
The release said that Poland has very roads and power grids, and the Polish government is known to fully support investment of foreign capital with various tax incentives. Also, the company said that the nation’s geographic location is favorable to export to other European countries and its excellent workforce availability are important reasons for selecting Poland.
LS C & S established a subsidiary that produces parts for electric vehicle batteries (LSEVP) in Poland in November 2017. LSEVP can produce parts for 300,000 electric vehicles annually, and is planning to increase supplies to European automakers starting with LG Chem in nearby Wroclaw at the end of this year.
LS C & S established its optical cable production subsidiary (LSCP) next to its LSEVP plant in February 2018 as the European optical cable market has grown rapidly. It is the third optical cable plant of LS C & S, following the plants it built in Gumi, Korea and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
LSCP began production last April and has proven that it can produce three million fiber km a year—about 7% of the European market—and has since been supplying its products to key European carriers in Italy, France, etc. With the completion of the Polish plant, LS C & S now has a total of 19 business sites at home and abroad, including nine overseas in Vietnam, China and the U.S.
The Prysmian Group has won a contract worth approximately €200 million from Vineyard Wind, LLC, that will require a total of 134 km of power cables for a project that was described as the first U.S. utility-scale offshore wind energy project.
A press release said that Prysmian Group will be responsible for the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of an HVAC (High Voltage Alternating Current) cable system for the project, which is located 14 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. The two, 220 kV three-core cables, which will use extruded XLPE insulation, will be produced at the Prysmian Group’s plants in Pikkala, Finland, and Arco Felice, Italy. Installation operations will be performed by two Prysmian Group cable-laying vessels: the Cable Enterprise and Ulisse. Delivery and commissioning are scheduled for 2021.
The release said that Prysmian will also provide PRY-CAM permanent monitoring solutions that include long-range Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) and Real Time Thermal Rating (RTTR) systems that collect and analyze data by ways of an artificial intelligence interface, which generates automated alarm signals if a critical situation is identified. “PRY-CAM is the Group’s breakthrough technology that allows on-line, accurate and reliable in-depth information to helps electric assets owners to increase uptime, asset longevity and safety, while reducing maintenance costs and risks.”
“This contract reinforces Prysmian Group’s leading position in the submarine cable market and underpins both our continued role and our commitment to the North American offshore wind sector,” the release said. Hakan Ozmen, EVP Projects, Prysmian Group, observed that the U.S. offshore wind market “is now demonstrating a high level of motivation with a promising growth forecast and we are excited to contribute to realizing this opportunity.”
The project will provide power for some 400,000 homes and businesses while reducing carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year, the release said. To date, there has been just one off-shore wind farm, that the small (30 MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island that began operation in 2016. More projects are now underway or planned, with the state of New York alone seeking to achieve 2,400 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
An offshore wind development company, Vineyard Wind, LLC, is 50% owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and 50% by Avangrid Renewables (part of the Iberdrola Group).
NKT has been awarded a turnkey project from Equinor Energy AS for 132 kV high-voltage cable that will connect the oil and gas platforms Johan Sverdrup 2 and Gina Krog.
A press release said that Equinor selected NKT as the turnkey supplier for the high-voltage cable project connecting the oil and gas platforms Gina Krog and Johan Sverdrup 2 in the North Sea. The order, worth approximately 29 million euros, includes the supply and installation of 62 km of a 132 kV AC XLPE high-voltage power cable solution. Connecting the platforms allows Equinor to power Gina Krog from shore by leveraging the already planned power link connecting Johan Sverdrup 2 to the onshore power grid, currently under development by NKT.
“By connecting the two platforms we confirm our strong market position as a reliable turnkey provider of high quality cable systems in the oil and gas segment supporting the growing industry focus on reducing its CO2 emissions,” said NKT Executive Vice President and Head of HV Solutions Andreas Berthou. He noted that the company’s ability to provide the cable, and install it, using its cable laying vessel, the NKT Victoria, was “a differentiator.”
NKT is currently executing on the power cable link connecting Johan Sverdrup 2 to shore. The power from shore connections for the platforms Johan Sverdrup 1 and Martin Linge were recently completed.
Elkem, Inc., announced that it has entered into a partnership with Schlenk Metal Foils to provide RF shielding materials and conductors that are superior to traditionally used flat-rolled wire.
A press release said that there is increasing demand for shielding materials with higher flexibility, reduced thickness, greater width and extended lifetime in the high-frequency cable market, where traditionally rolled silvered copper has limitations. Partnering with Schlenk, an industry leader in rolled metal foils technology, Elkem, which provides specialized electroplating, is now able to offer advanced RF shielding based on silver-plated copper foil.
"The products created from our partnership will enable cable manufacturers to design thinner conductors with higher aspect ratios that are also more flexible and durable," said Schlenk Sales Manager Thorben Beckmann.
Elkem Inc. Vice President Jeff Lawrence said that the RF shielding materials and conductors are available now, both for R&D sample quantities and full-volume production orders. He noted that Elkem, which will exhibit at Interwire at Booth 254, is expanding its plating equipment to provide increased capacity to the market.
Sparkle, an Italian international service provider, announced plans for deployment of BlueMed, a submarine multi-fiber cable that will link Palermo with Genoa.
A press release said that the new cable, to be operational by 2020, will cross the Tyrrhenian Sea connecting Sparkle’s Sicily Hub open data center in Palermo. The data center, which serves 18 international cables with Genoa’s new open landing station, will be directly connected to Milan’s rich digital ecosystem. BlueMed will also include multiple branches within the Tyrrhenian Sea and is set to support further extensions southbound of Sicily.
BlueMed, the release said, will have a capacity up to 240 Tbps, and the cable will be approximately 1,000-km long. The system will provide advanced connectivity between Middle East, Africa, Asia and the European mainland hubs with up to 50% latency reduction than existing terrestrial cables connecting Sicily with Milan.
Sparkle’s new open landing station in Genoa is set to become the alternative priority access for other upcoming submarine cables looking for a diversified entry way to Europe, thus strengthening Italy’s role as digital gateway between Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe, the release said.
Sparkle is part of the TIM Group, which owns and manages a global and technologically advanced proprietary network of about 530,000 km of fiber that include three major regional systems in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas as well as an extensive ownership in major international submarine cables.
Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), a business of Nokia, has signed a contract to supply the Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable the technology it needs to enable it to provide the lowest latency connection between major data centers in Sydney or Auckland and Los Angeles.
Per media reports, the $350 million Southern Cross NEXT project, based on an open-cable architecture, will provide an additional 72 terabits per second of capacity for Southern Cross customers, adding to the existing 20 terabits of capacity potential of the current Southern Cross systems. It is scheduled for completion in 2021.
The NEXT cable will be the largest capacity, lowest latency link between the U.S. West coast and Sydney and Auckland. The contract also includes key interconnecting infrastructure for the South Pacific, providing what Southern Cross says is a reliable direct information pipeline to connect those participating nations—Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati—to the world, and greater options to the existing cables from Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga connecting to Southern Cross today in Fiji.
The system will provide full fiber connectivity to Auckland, New Zealand, and will incorporate Branching Units (BU) and OADM technology for connections to Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati. The Marine Survey was completed in 2017, and Sydney BMH and bore landing facilities were completed in 2018, along with landing arrangements in Los Angeles and Auckland.
MD ELEKTRONIK, based in Waldkraiburg, Germany, announced that it plans to invest $12.7 million in a new plant for making automotive cables in Vratsa, Bulgaria.
Per media reports, the company said that plans to build a production plant near Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. There, the new entity, to be called MD ELEKTRONIK EOOD, will make data cables and electronic components. Production is expected to start in 2020, and will create some 300 new jobs.
"The location in Bulgaria and the associated increase in flexibility play an important strategic role in our global production network, in particular, for our customers in Europe," said Ralf Eckert, a member of the company’s management board. The Bulgaria location was selected for the good educational level, its central location, well-established infrastructure and logistical framework conditions, the company reported. The plant is in an industrial area that is close to the border with Romania, a busy area for numerous automotive manufacturers and system suppliers.
MD ELEKTRONIK also reported that it is expanding its Waldkraiburg campus, where it has begun construction of a new technology center with a total floor area of some 4,400 sq m. The completion and commissioning of the building are planned for 2019. This follows prior growth activity, which in 2015 saw MD ELEKTRONIK GmbH open sales offices in the U.S. and China. To strengthen its presence in the NAFTA area, it also founded MD ELEKTRONIK de México S. de R.L. de C.V. in 2015 and built a new plant in León (Mexico) that opened in 2016.
Mid Continent Steel & Wire has been granted most of its requested exceptions to trade tariffs of 25% imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) on steel wire from Mexico.
Per DoC and multiple media reports, the Missouri-based nail manufacturer—which is owned by Mexico-based Deacero—is the largest nail maker in the U.S. Prior to the impositions of the tariffs on June 1, 2018, the company had 500 employees, but went to less than 300 because it lost some 60% of business. With the majority of the requested exemptions approved, the company is now recalling some 50 employees.
Per Mid Continent, exemptions from Section 232 tariffs are rarely approved, which made the decision especially good news. "This is a great day for our workers, our customers, for Southeast Missouri, and for U.S. manufacturing," said Operations General Manager Chris Pratt. "We knew from the start that we qualified for the exclusions. Now, we can focus on making Magnum, the best nails in the world, here in Poplar Bluff, Missouri."
While Mid Continent can once again ramp up production, the company notes that the relief is only good for one year, so it will have to seek further exemptions. Pratt said the company cut about 60 temporary jobs and more than 140 other workers left over concerns about job security and were not replaced.
Last October, U.K.-based BT Cables Ltd., formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc, was sold to the Wilms Group and renamed British Cables Company Limited (BCC). Under either name, the company has continued to be an industry standout, having now won the President’s Award 14 years in a row in the RoSPA Health and Safety Awards, a key U.K. recognition program.
“We are delighted to have once again been awarded the prestigious President’s Award from RoSPA,” Managing Director Kevin Samuel said in a press release. “This award proves that we are succeeding.”
Regarding the acquisition, Samuel described it in a prior press release as “one of the most positive developments in the company’s long history.” He noted that the Wilms Group is the biggest privately owned cable group in Europe, with more than 70 companies, some 7,500 employees and annual revenues exceeding 1.5 billion euros. British Cable Company will continue to be based in Blackley, Manchester. It has been operational for more than 120 years.