Ahead of the 12th edition of the Eurocoke Summit in Barcelona from 25-27 April, we spoke with Ingomar Koehler, a consultant at Procomco to discuss his take on the latest industry news, sustainability and emissions issues and why he thinks the situation will improve.
Ingomar, you have been working with Eurocoke for some time – and obviously longer in the industry…
As I was focused during my entire working life on the technical side of cokemaking and the blast furnace process where the cokemaking belongs to I watched the commercial part from outside only. As a former Senior Development Engineer with ThyssenKrupp and now working in a consulting capacity with procomco, I see many parts of industry directly.
As you look at the industry, what are you seeing as some of the biggest news?
The biggest news I see will be the info that the actual downtrend of the industry - I refer to the steel industry only - can be stopped and changed again. I am confident that it will come and hopefully soon. The industry, as we see what happened in the past, goes through an up and down cycle – with different amplitudes and frequencies of course.
How might it get worse?
All the global merging of already big companies to even bigger companies could make the situation worse, e.g. the actual discussion of the merging of TKSE and the British part of TATA. They see their profit, but I see that every time the merging leads to numerous unemployed people and other challenges. Do these companies have a social responsibility for the human population? I think so.
With the countries of the western world being on a high industrial standard, there is a tendency of the authorities/regulators to reduce the emission standards more and more to a level which I think is sometimes crazy. It seems to be a competition on who can go lower. This makes investments of millions and millions necessary without significant effect to the environment.
Sustainability and emissions issues are a growing factor in this industry and others…
Environmental protection is a global problem and must be solved globally. See to countries like China, India, Brazil …
What gives you hope or optimism in seeing this situation improve?
The current situation is challenged by what I call the ruinous competition and the imports of goods and services on dumping costs. Free trading is very important - and dumping costs will destroy it. I think technology innovation will also be important. I especially look forward to hearing from Baosteel to hear what is happening in China. I think some of the other insights – from Teck Coal for example - will also be great. As I said, the industry is a cycle and goes up and down. It is down now but I see where it will go up.
Ingomar will be co-chairing the Eurocoke Summit and will take part in a panel discussion at the end of conference day one.
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