Depending on the project scale, there are three main purchase options for structural steel sections and plates in the New Zealand market. The first and second ex-stock supply options are normally more costly than the third indent supply option because of overhead costs such as handling, storage and financing. Other issues such as steel quality levels should also be considered. Sometimes it is better to pay a little more for quality products from known reputable suppliers rather than risk poor end application performance. There are also fluctuations in demand and supply around the world that can affect availability and price.
The major distributors normally hold around 20,000 tonnes of structural sections, 12,000 tonnes of plate. In addition they hold angles, flats and ancillary products required by fabricators. Small volumes ex-stock of structural steel can be purchased directly from these merchants. Delivery is between 1 to 2 days depending on delivery and location requirements.
If the desired structural steel sections and plate are not currently available locally, the merchants would source ex-stock from the major stockists in Australia , Singapore or Hong Kong. Australian steel mills hold small quantities of many sizes in stock and have sufficient rolling schedules so that the supply can be “prompt”. Singapore stockists normally hold up to 80,000 tonnes of structural steel in stock so that most products are available. It typically takes about 4 to 5 weeks from order for delivery to the main ports in New Zealand.
When the required supply quantity of product exceeds the local and overseas ex-stock levels; or when the customer is willing to forgo immediate delivery in favour of indent pricing, then mill or indent supply becomes the third option. The delivery time depends on the mill location and product type. For example, most main products can be produced within 75 days from order to wharf delivery. This includes procurement from places such as Thailand, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Europe. The delivery is about 4 months overall (14-16 weeks) including the 4 weeks shipping time. However, some products such as structural pipe can be up to 6 months from order to receipt.
Custom welded sections can be sourced within New Zealand (Steltech) within 4 to 6 weeks of order.