Railroads haul the iron ore, steel scrap and coke that are used to make steel, which is used to manufacture products like automobiles and appliances.

Railroads haul the iron ore, steel scrap and coke that are used to make steel, which is used to manufacture products like automobiles and appliances. Railroads also move steel slabs, concrete reinforcing bar and various kinds of pipe for use in construction projects. To meet the growing needs of manufacturing and construction industries, railroads engineered lighter weight flat cars that can carry more steel per carload. In 2019, railroads hauled nearly 569,000 carloads of steel and other primary metal products and more than 740,000 carloads of iron ore and 240,000 carloads of scrap metal for producing new steel. Here’s a look at how railroads support the steel supply chain:

  • Transportation of raw inputs, including iron ore, fluxing stone or lime, bentonite, coke produced from coal, and iron and steel scrap to steel mills for initial sorting and processing.
  • Steel mills produce intermediate steel and steel-related commodities such as pig iron, steel wire, steel ingots, billets and slabs, construction shapes and steel sheets and plates.
  • Steel mill products are transported to foundries and rolling mills for further refinement, forming and shaping, producing steel castings or manufacturing materials.
  • The refined steel and steel-related commodities are moved to metal forming or stamping plants where final consumer and industrial goods such as motor vehicles, machinery and household appliances are manufactured.
  • Final goods, such as motor vehicles, machinery and household appliances are then transported to end users.

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