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Verbatim: Ports of Indiana ships steel to Macedonia

Ports of Indiana issued this news release today:

PORTAGE, Ind. (Sept. 8, 2011) – Indiana-made steel is headed from the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor to the Republic of Macedonia. The shipment – made up of 18,000 metric tons of hot-rolled steel coils – was produced at ArcelorMittal's Burns Harbor facility. The steel will ship to Thessaloniki, Greece, where it will be unloaded and transported to ArcelorMittal Skopje, a steel finishing facility in Macedonia's capital city.

"We are pleased to be exporting nearly 18,000 metric tons of steel – our most significant export from the U.S. in three years – from the Port of Indiana," said Ramana Venkat, managing director of ArcelorMittal International. "Opportunities to export steel from ArcelorMittal USA facilities can be very attractive when market conditions allow. Export projects always bring excitement to the teams involved and demonstrate the global competitiveness of our Northwest Indiana steel facilities."

Federal Marine Terminals, the port's general cargo stevedore, started loading the steel onto the Pacific Huron Thursday and expects the process to take two to three days. The vessel, built especially for carrying cargo between Europe and the Great Lakes, is making its fourth voyage into the Great Lakes. The trip is expected to take 23 days, with stops for fuel in Montreal and Gibraltar, arriving in Thessaloniki on Oct. 1.

"Northwest Indiana is the richest steel-producing region in the world and being able to access world markets through our port is vital for ArcelorMittal and many other companies," said Peter Laman, port director of the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. "Whether it's bringing in raw materials or shipping out finished products, steel companies can reduce their logistic costs substantially by shipping through our port. We have an experienced and aggressive terminal operator in Federal Marine Terminals, an extremely efficient workforce, and many port companies that provide steel-related services, which is why this facility handles more steel than any other Great Lakes port."

This is the first substantial steel export from the port since 2008. Year-to-date steel shipments through the port are up 40 percent over last year, with 2011 on target for having the highest steel shipments since 2007. Through August, the port has handled 25 percent more cargo than 2010, including a variety of project cargoes such as wind equipment and heavy machinery.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor recently posted the largest increase in international cargo of all the Great Lakes ports during the 2010 navigation season, earning it the prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority that operates a system of three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan in Mount Vernon, Burns Harbor and Jeffersonville. The Ports of Indiana manages approximately 2,600 acres, which are home to 60 companies and 800 acres of available industrial sites. For more information, please visit www.portsofindiana.com.

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