The 2018 SEAISI Conference and Exhibition, held from 25 to 28 June 2018 at The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan in Indonesia, was a resounding success. The conference attracted a huge turnout of more than 550 delegates from some 32 countries across the globe while the exhibition saw a total of 37 companies taking up all the 43 exhibition booths and three corporate suites.
With the theme “ASEAN Steel Industry – Next Leap of Transformation”, the conference was officially opened by the Minister of Industry of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Airlangga Hartarto. In his speech, the Minister touched on the growth and development of the Indonesian economy which has consistently registered high annual growth rates of around 5%. He particularly highlighted the importance of the iron and steel industry to the economic development of the country and pointed out that the industry is poised to benefit from the increased spending by the government on infrastructure projects.
The Keynote Session that followed featured three prominent speakers from different regions of the world. The first speaker was Dr. Edwin Basson, Director General of the World Steel Association, which is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. In his presentation entitled “Steel Industry Role in Future Development”, Dr. Basson alluded to the importance of steel to modern society but cautioned on several challenges arising from megatrends development such as premature deindustrialisation, circular economy and digitalisation. He also noted the growing importance of ASEAN steel demand in an era where the global steel industry is moving to low growth zone.
The next keynote speaker, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman and CEO of GFG Alliance Australia, delivered his keynote address through a pre-recorded video presentation as he was unable to be physically present at the conference due to some last-minute business development. In his address, Mr. Gupta shared with the delegates GFG Alliance’s journey towards the next leap of transformation to re-establish metal manufacturing and engineering excellence through the use of local resources, new technologies and innovation.
Dr. Bahram Sobhani, CEO of Mobarakeh Steel Co. of Iran, was the third keynote speaker. His presentation focused on an analysis of global slab trade and how Iranian steel producers could support the steel industry in ASEAN to meet its shortfall in slabs and HRC supply.
After the keynote presentations, the three keynote speakers (Mr. Sanjeev Gupta was represented by Mr. Harley Barlow, GM Sales of Liberty OneSteel) were joined by Mr. Chu Duc Khai, Vice-Chairman and General Secretary of Vietnam Steel Association and Dato’ Lim Hong Thye, Group Managing Director of Malaysia’s Ann Joo Group of Companies, for a CEO Panel Discussion. The session, moderated by Mr. Ashish Anupam, Chairman of SEAISI, saw a lively exchange of views among the panel members and conference delegates on topics of current interest including impact of Section 232 on world steel industry, value creation in steel industry, green steel, image of steel vs other materials, Iran’s growing steel production and export potential, growth of Vietnam steel industry and impact of leadership change in Malaysia on construction projects.
In the session on “Regional Developments”, delegates were updated on the developments of the iron and steel industry in ASEAN as well as in the region’s two most important neighbours – China and India.
The papers presented for the session on “Market Perspectives & Challenges” were “Opportunities for Asian Steelmakers from Chinese Output Control and Reform” by CRU; “Chinese Steel Capacity Replacement Impact on Exports” by S & P Global Platts; “Change Striking Raw Material Procurement Team” by Argus Media; and “A Holistic Consideration for the Evolution of the Steel Industry” by Horst Wiesinger Consulting. Some of the key takeaways from this session include:
- China’s steel supply-side reforms have been successful, resulting in a dramatic drop in the country’s steel export volume.
- Asia will benefit from China’s absence from export market.
- Environmental protection will continue to rein in China’s steel production and support steel prices.
- EAF share bouncing back but hampered by scrap costs.
- While the recycling rate of steel is unmatched by any other material, the steelmaking process still has substantial potential for further environmental improvements.
In line with the theme of the conference, there was a special session on “Transformation of ASEAN Steel Industry and its Competitiveness” which took place on the very last day of the conference instead of the opening day, which was the usual practice. The intention was to attract more delegates to stay around for the whole duration of the conference and the session did see a larger turnout of delegates. The session was moderated by Mr. Wikrom Vajragupta, Chairman of Thailand Iron and Steel Industry Club, The Federation of Thai Industries. The speakers were Prof. Dr. Pino Tese of SMS Group, Dr. Marku Ringhofer of Primetals Technologies and Mr. Theerayuth Lertsirarungsun of Milcon Steel Industries. After their presentations, the speakers were joined for a panel discussion by two board members of SEAISI viz. Mr. Win Viriyaprapaikit, Director for Thailand and incoming Chairman of SEAISI and Mr. Roberto Cola, Director for the Philippines. Some of the topics discussed include digitalisation of steel production, intelligent, autonomous manufacturing, micro mini mills, brownfield vs greenfield investments and internal and external challenges to transformation.
As usual, the presentation of Country Reports by the member countries of SEAISI was very well received by the delegates. In addition, a total of 69 technical papers were delivered by various experts over 14 sessions on the second and third day of the conference.
The plant tour after the conference attracted a total of 158 delegates who were divided into two groups to visit several leading steel establishments in Cikarang and Cilegon.
The success of the 2018 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition in Jakarta, Indonesia was the result of the efforts and contributions of many organisations and individuals. The Institute would like to convey its deepest appreciation to the co-host of the event, The Indonesian Iron and Steel Industry Association (IISIA), all the speakers and chairpersons, all the exhibitors, sponsors and advertisers, all the companies that hosted the plant tour and all the delegates for your tremendous support and participation.
The 2019 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition will be held in Thailand. We look forward to seeing you all again at our next year’s event.