Agile Steel Industry Can ‘Survive Global Competition’
Steelmaking in Britain has the ability to survive in the face of tough competition from China if it can rise to the challenge of becoming more agile and creative, according to an industry expert.
Chris McDonald (pictured), chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute (MPI), has argued that the sector "must not be wedded to the past", but instead should "embrace an innovation-led approach" and be "flexible, efficient and adaptable".
Speaking at a UK Steel EEF briefing in London, McDonald said: "The Chinese steel industry is and will remain the big beast in the global steel ecosystem, but just as in the natural world, big beasts struggle to cope, with fast moving, smaller, operators and the UK has the opportunity now to transition to just that kind of steel manufacturing economy.
"It could be easy to fall into the trap of assuming that there is little space for a competitive UK steel industry, but this would be to ignore not only what we do well, but what is happening around us right now.
"Where the UK specifically has an advantage over China is our ability to move and adapt quickly, our diversity and internationalisation and our access to demanding customers across a large, single European market.
"All of these are strengths that can help to keep the UK industry fit, agile and above all profitable."
However, McDonald warned that this can only happen with the right kind of support.
"It is by the co-investment of the UK steel industry and UK government, in UK innovation that we will continue to hold this place as the fast moving, opportunists of the steel world," he added.
As a not-for-profit organisation, MPI supports businesses working across a range of sectors, from steel and chemicals to energy and mining, with a range of facilities and research and development services.