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The Globalized Scrap Industry

If you haven't read it yet, the January New Yorker article about the worldwide scrap metal industry by John Seabrook is now online at booknoise.net. Its a fascinating look into the booming scrap metal market and its global connections from New York to LA to China.

As mentioned in the article, Metal Management based in Chicago and Sims Group based in Australia recently merged to form the world's largest scrap metal recycling dealer. What had years ago been a highly localized industry has been transformed into a fully globalized commodity.

As also mentioned in the article, a key part of that globalization that has yet to be realized is the use of containers to standardize the transport of scrap metal. One LA scrap dealer, Nathan Frankel, has come up with a method to allow use of standard shipping containers. Two thirds of the shipping containers bringing products from China to the U.S. return empty, so this innovation could change things dramatically. Scrap metal is currently the second highest export from the U.S. to China due to the construction boom there.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 28, 2008 11:19 AM.

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