POSCO’s typhoon-hit facilities nearly restored, production normalized: industry ministry

SEOUL– South Korea’s top steelmaker, POSCO, has restored most of its facilities damaged by a September typhoon and normalized production, the industry ministry said Thursday.

The superstrong Typhoon Hinnamnor pounded POSCO’s steel mill in Pohang, 272 kilometers southeast of Seoul, leading to the suspension of its major facilities.

All three of the company’s blast furnaces and 15 out of the 17 steel-processing facilities in Pohang have returned to normal operations, and the remaining factories will be fully restored by January, according to the assessment by a probe team set up by the ministry involving government officials and experts.

Steel production has nearly recovered to the level seen before the typhoon, and supplies of other high-value added products are expected to be fully normalized soon.

The probe team said no major supply glitch is expected in the near future, and chances are slim for any production issues stemming from the damage down the road given the recovery schedule.

In accordance with the team’s recommendations, POSCO decided to improve the drainage system of the factory and set up independent power generation facilities and structures to prevent the adjacent stream from overflowing.

The company also vowed to come up with “business continuity planning” for comprehensive anti-disaster measures, as the team found its existing anti-disaster manual insufficient in dealing with such situations, the ministry said.

POSCO suffered 2.4 trillion won (US$1.89 billion) in lost revenue, which accounted for 2.7 percent of its annual earnings, and its suppliers saw their lost revenue come to a combined 250 billion won, according to a government assessment.

In a move to minimize the impact on the steel supply, the company had increased production in its furnaces in the southwestern city of Gwangyang and imported steel products from overseas.

Typhoon Hinnamnor killed more than 10 people, and caused severe flooding and damage.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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