History of SEAISI: SEAISI 50th Anniversary

Posted on 19 February 2021

It was during the 2 months study tour from July to September 1967 of 6 countries, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Republic of China and Philippines, that a close friendship was established among the participating members. After visiting the Malayawata Steel plant, it had been arranged that the members would stay overnight at the island of Penang Malaysia to enjoy the beauty of the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Moved by a feeling of peace and unity then, everyone present mooted the idea that it would be a wonderful thing if the steelmen in South East Asia could assemble together every year.

The study tour which was part of the Steel Survey Mission organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) to study the steel industry development in Asia, was led by Mr. Harry Willners, the leader, Mr. Goh Seong Pek from Singapore and Mr. B.P. Abrera, ECAFE Secretariat. The survey mission had prepared a report that has four recommendations, of which one concerned the establishment of a South East Asian steel institute. 

The Second Steel Survey Mission was sent to further study this recommendation and this task was led by the Japanese Government, served as a member of Asian Industrial Development Council (AIDC) for the ECAFE. After the completion of the second mission, AICD appointed 2 representatives from Australia and Japan to examine the feasibility of establishing an iron and steel institute in this region. Subsequently, AIDC had a several meetings within council and with ECAFE which saw an extensive work done and time spent on deliberation and preparatory work for the establishment of the institute.

On March 8, 1971 the South East Asia Iron and Steel Institute (SEAISI) was inaugurated in Singapore, under the auspices of United Nations ECAFE, serving as a non-governmental international organization for the iron and steel industry, the strategic key industry for the industrialization of its developing countries. The institute was well prepared to be the regional source of inform-ation on the latest iron and steel technology, to make significant contribution to the training of much needed operational, technical and managerial personnel. It would serve as the catalyst for the future regional iron and steel community through promoting economic expansion bridging the gap between domestic steel consumption and production. 

The original six countries, who were represented on the First Survey Mission are the foundation member countries of the Institute, being Japan and Australia described as supporting member countries. In this role, Japan and Australia in the early years of the Institute’s existence, contributed to a major extent financially and also through the skills and technical know-how available from the developed steel industries in these two countries. 

The Technical Committee was formed to undertake the major task in the activities of the institute. In the same year, the institute published its first Monthly Bulletin and SEAISI Quarterly technical journal, no other existing news and technical publication catered particularly for the needs of the steel industry. 

In September 1971, the Mini Mill Symposium was held in Singapore. The first event organized by the institute, ever launched by the steel industry in this region. The gathering had provided opportunities for the developed steel industries to share directly their technology and experience to local industry representative. Members of SEAISI were drawn from steel companies or any steel related company / organization in the region and other part of the world. The membership of the Institute can be classified into Regular, Associate, Affiliated and Individual Members. Information of the members were then compiled and in 1972 the first Membership Directory of the institute was published. 

As the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) building was still under construction, the institute headquarters was initially installed in the EDB Building. On June 1, 1975 with the completion of the DBS Building, the SEAISI head-quarters had moved to its new offices in the building.

In 1981, the Institute’s Board of Directors decided to relocate the SEAISI headquarters to Manila, Philippines whilst retaining the registered office in Singapore. The office in Manila had built up a professional staff team that served the institute members by providing conducive platform for conferences for the steel industry in the region and their counterparts elsewhere to exchanged views on the relevance of the latest technology. 

From 1986, the institute began to hold the conference annually instead of semi-annually as had been the practice in previous years. South Korea, among the top steel producer in East Asia, shown great interest in supporting the activities of SEAISI and in 1986 had eagerly joined SEAISI as a supporting member country. With the support of Australia, Japan and South Korea, SEAISI has formed an effective link among the steel producers of the region, fostering their cooperative efforts and those of other countries outside in promoting and developing the iron and steel industry. Accordingly, the first Study Tour was organized in 1990 to COREX and advanced steel mills in Europe and South Africa.

As the institute was entering into a new century, immediately after the SEAISI headquarters was shifted to a new office MBSA in Shah Alam Malaysia in 1991, the Board of Directors decided to review its objective and vision for the next 10 years. The Vision 2000 Meeting was held in Bali Indonesia, November 1991 with the engagement of the facilitators from McKinsey & Group. The brainstorming sessions had recommended 5 projects of which eventually saw the formation of the Environmental Committee and Statistical Committee. 

The Japan Iron and Steel Federation voluntary championed the Statistical Committee, through their expertise in data compilation, has established the data collection system for SEAISI. The institute published the first Steel Statistical Yearbook in 1992. 

The Environmental Committee was set up for its members to meet and discuss issues related to the environment and its sustainability. The committee had since then had widen its activities by organizing the first Environmental Workshop in 2003 and in 2007 expanded its scope with inclusion of safety, to be the Environmental and Safety Committee. As the environment issue in the steel industry was getting more relevantly importance, the committee decided to start its first Environmental Seminar in 2008 in Indonesia, to enable more environmental issues to be addressed to a larger group of delegates.

Republic of China (Taiwan) the original member of SEAISI, was making rapid progress in its steel industry, decided to join the institute in 1992 as a supporting member country for more a prominent role in the institute. Nevertheless, Vietnam the emerging economy then has also joined the institute as a regular member country in 1996. 

With such a large grouping of steel member countries, SEAISI acknowledged the vast amount of information it has and only be beneficial if it would share with its members. The first Country Reports of 10 SEAISI member countries and SEAISI Website were launched in 1996/1997 disseminating the information of the region to the members. 

To further cater for the needs of each local 6 steel industries of SEAISI, the Traveling Seminar was first introduced in 1999. Expert speakers from the 4 supporting countries would travel to each 6 regular countries to share technological know-how and expertise directly with the local steel companies. 

Beside the Traveling Seminar, supporting countries were also had the opportunity to host the Training Programme and this was initiated by South Korea who hosted the first Training Programme in POSCO South Korea in 2006. 

In 1998, the headquarters has shifted from the rented MBSA office to its own office in Worldwide Business Park in Shah Alam Selangor. 

In view of rapid global changing condition, the Board of Directors expressed its wishes to carry out a strategic review of the institute’s future role and priorities. In December, 2001 the Strategic Planning Workshop was formed and the Planning Committee was set up to take the task to draw the future direction of the institute. 

The Planning Committee has proposed 5 objectives for the institute to achieve in order to run the institute effectively for the next 5 years. A new vision and mission of the institute established adjures a high performing and vibrant institute with clear direction for excellent service to stakeholders and a strong financial position with all the concerted efforts from the National Committees. 

The first Map of ASEAN Steel Industry was published in 2009 provides the best perspective of data and information to stakeholder for investment. Upon completion of the role as a supporting member country, Japan has continued to support the institute when 5 largest Japanese steel producers registered to be the pioneer batch of the Individual Company Member.  
Since then, the institute has been competitively self-supporting gradually underwent continuous changes expanding its role not only on the technical area but also in steel trade and promotion intra ASEAN. ASEAN Iron and Steel Industry Federation AISIF which had been a forum for the ASEAN members to discuss trade issue in the region has integrated as part of SEAISI as an autonomous body in 2011 and the name of AISIF was replaced by ASEAN Iron and Steel Council (AISC). In the same year the Trade, Promotion and Relation Committee was formed. 

In 2017, the Sub-Committee on Steel Applications in the Construction Sector was set up under the Technical Committee to promote steel applications in the construction sector, the largest steel-consuming sector. The Sub-Committee held the first Construction Seminar in the end of 2017. 

For a more explicit data analysis, the Statistical Committee decided to include economics in their reporting and the name of the committee was changed to Statistical and Economics Committee in 2017.   

Myanmar participating as a member country in 2018 has made the institute ever more prominent in the region. 

As SEAISI braces itself for new challenges, the Board of Directors decided to review its priorities, vision and mission. In this undertaking, in 2018 INSTAC Consulting has been engaged to be the facilitator. The brainstorming sessions have concluded to move the institute to become a world-class steel institute to contribute to sustainable steel value chain in ASEAN, emphasizing on 3 new key strategies, Construction, Sustainability and Digital.

What is SEAISI now today over the past half century has not been possible without the wholehearted supports and cooperation of so many member countries, companies, organizations and individuals. We thank all of our stakeholders for the persistent and enduring support through the years. SEAISI is ready for another 50 years ahead seeking stronger friendship to grow together for a better future in the industry and community as a whole. 

Happy 50th Anniversary SEAISI!

Source : SEAISI