The 2017 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition was successfully held at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore from 22 to 25 May 2017. With the theme “Realising the Value within ASEAN Steel Industry through Technology Development, Capacity Optimisation and Digitisation”, the event was well attended by some 500 delegates from 30 countries across the globe.
The opening ceremony was officiated by Dr. John Keung, CEO of Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Singapore, who gave an address on “Construction Productivity in Singapore – Changing the Way We Build”. He elaborated on how Singapore addressed the problem of stagnating value added productivity in its construction industry in the pre-2010 by instituting measures such as raising manpower cost to drive technology substitution, setting minimum standard through the building framework, incentivising private sector to be first movers and driving Building Information Modelling (BIM) adoption etc.
The Keynote Session that followed featured speakers from three top steel companies in Asia. The first speaker was Mr. Peeyush Gupta, Director, Tata Steel Limited and Vice President (Marketing & Sales), Tata Steel India. In his presentation, Mr. Gupta pointed out that since the economic crisis, value pool has shifted towards raw materials and downstream processing. In this connection, his advice to the ASEAN steel industry is to focus on operational excellence to stay competitive in conversion costs and downstream and solutions to enhance profitability.
The next keynote speaker was Mr. Yoichi Furuta, Managing Executive Officer, South East Asia & India, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC). In his address, Mr. Furuta explained in detail NSSMC’s strategy for ASEAN market, its localised operations in ASEAN and its approach to ASEAN construction market which focuses on broadening the use of steel structure. He also touched on the corporate strategy of NSSMC which is centred on technological superiority, cost competitiveness and global supply capabilities.
Mr. Kwak Jeong-Shik, Executive Vice President and Head of External Relations, POSCO, the third keynote speaker, talked about the three core values of POSCO viz. providing solutions to enhance customer’s value, environmental responsibility and corporate social responsibility. Based on the core values, POSCO’s strategic approaches are enhancing overall value in steel industry through competition and collaboration, creating value through smart transformation by applying technology-enablers of Industry 4.0 and adopting code of ethics as the foundation of cultural diversity.
After the keynote presentations, the three keynote speakers were joined by Dato’ Soh Thian Lai, Group Executive Deputy Chairman of YKGI Holdings Berhad and Mr. Win Viriyaprapaikit, President & Group CEO of Sahaviriya Steel Industrial Public Company Limited 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 solutions for a sustainable steel development in ASEAN, trend in steel manufacturing companies going downstream to more customised products/solutions, protective measures on imports of steel, the likely emergence of India as the second largest steel producing / consuming country in the world, the impact of the probe by USA on steel imports under section 232 and digital transformation and its impact on the steel industry.
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 “The Future for Chinese Steel: Steel Prices and Influencing Factors” by CRU, “Developments in Steelmaking Raw Materials and the Impact of Chinese Environmental Measures on South East Asian Steel Industry” by MySteel, “Regional Steel Price Trends within a Global Environment” by MEPS and “Towards a Globally Competitive Steel Industry in ASEAN – Strategies and Risk Mitigations as We Grow” by M.N. Dastur & Company (P) Ltd. Some of the key points raised in this session include:
- Improved domestic market conditions in China will reduce the incentive to export and steel that is exported will be priced higher relative to costs;
- The supply-side reforms / environmental measures in China have alleviated substantial pressure on Southeast Asian steel producers;
- Upstream capacity in ASEAN hindered by lack of natural resources;
- Steelmakers need to increase cost competitiveness in downstream industry.
In line with the theme of the conference, there was a special session on “Industry 4.0 and Steel Industry” which featured speakers from Accenture Singapore, PSI Metals, SMS Group, Danieli Automation SPA and Primetals Technologies.
As usual, the presentation of Country Reports by the nine member countries of SEAISI was very well received by the delegates. In addition, a total of 72 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 some 80 delegates who were divided into two groups, the first visiting Yongnam Holdings’ fabrication plant and The Accenture Internet of Things Centre of Excellence in Singapore, while the second group visited the manufacturing facilities of Bahru Stainless Sdn Bhd and Kiswire Sdn Bhd in Johor, Malaysia.
All in all, the 2017 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition in Singapore was a big success. The institute would like to convey its deepest appreciation to the co-host of the event, NatSteel Holdings Pte Ltd, 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 2018 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition will be held in Indonesia. The theme will be “ASEAN Steel Industry – Next Leap of Transformation”. We look forward to seeing you all again at our next year’s event.
TAN AH YONG