Metal & Metal Processing

Metal & Metal Processing

Germany, One of the Largest Raw Material Consumers Worldwide

Drill Machine and Metal Filings | © Fotolia

Source: Drill Machine and Metal Filings | © Fotolia

Industry Overview

Germany plays an important role within the European metal manufacturing and processing sector. Among manufacturing, the metal and metal processing industry is one of the largest largest in the country, and it comprises the steel and iron, non-ferrous metal, and foundry industries. With an annual production volume of about 43 million tons of raw steel, Germany is the largest steel producer, consumer, importer and exporter in Europe. For 2014 the industry expects a growth of 1% in steel production . Ranging from the basic processing of raw materials, the metal industry in Germany produces innumerable intermediate and finished metal products.

Our Industry in Numbers

  • Total metal and metal products exports reached EUR 90.7 billion in 2013.
  • Metal and metal products imports totaled EUR 75.9 billion in 2013.
  • Almost sixty three percent of the imported metal products came from the European Union.
  • About 20 million tons of steel are yearly processed in the production of metal products.
  • The non-ferrous metal industry registered sales of EUR 45.6 billion in 2013.

Market Potential

As a major processing nation, Germany relies basically on the import of raw materials to feed the metals industry. Metals are a vital component in the production and processing of products in various leading industries, such as the automobile, machinery, construction, aerospace, medical equipment, renewable energy and information technology. Even though the metal manufacturing and processing industry has benefited from the increasing demand in the different sectors, its dependency on particularly metal mineral resources has remained unchanged at 100 percent.

Market Access

Foreign companies wishing to sell metal raw materials and products in the European Union must fulfill the established quality and safety requirements. A number of metals and metal compounds are included as materials to be registered and approved by REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals). REACH is a European regulation on chemicals, including metals and metal compounds, that requires manufacturers or importers to register information on substances that are brought into the EU market. In general, REACH concerns substances used on their own, in preparations, or processed into finished products. Compliance with REACH guarantees safety throughout the whole supply chain of metals.

Product certification is also of high importance for the successful introduction of metals and its compounds in Germany. DIN norms exist for a wide range of metal products and every manufacturer, importer and distributor should make sure that their products are correctly certified. Additionally, since iron and steel products are considered “sensitive goods”, they require an import license according to the Iron and Steel Regime of the European Union. Import licenses can be obtained from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) which also oversees import quantities and prices.

Distribution Channels and Supporting Institutions

Specialized importers and distributors are the best channels to distribute metal raw materials and products in Germany. The Association of German Metal Traders (VDM) offers a Company Database that contains a list of non-ferrous metal wholesale and recycling traders. The association also offers an extensive range of services to all its members and provides a large amount of useful industry links. Furthermore, the Federal German Association of Metal Wholesalers (WGM) provides its members very helpful information about the sector as well as a list of companies specializing in nonferrous metals and semi-finished products.

The German Non Ferrous Metals Association (WVM) offers a wide range of information about the non-ferrous metal industry. The association represents the interests of manufacturers and processors of non-ferrous metals in the areas of energy and environmental policy, foreign trade and economic policy.

The Association of the Steel and Metal Processing Industry (WSM) functions as the spokesman and motivator of the processing industry. About 5,000 member companies all over Germany generate an annual turnover of 78.5 billion euro. They processed about 18 million tons of steel – circa 40 percent of Germany’s total steel production.

The Steel Institute (VDEh), the German Steel Federation and other organisations and institutes of the steel industry operate under the umbrella of the Steel Center. The European Steel Registration Office, which is part of the Steel Institute, is responsible for the allocation of material numbers to steel grades according to European standards. The "Register of European Steels" (Stahl-Eisen-Liste) can be found on the website of the Steel Center.

The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) advises the Federal Government and the industry in raw material matters. It contributes to the securing of supplies of mineral and energy raw materials.

The Latin American Institute of Iron and Steel (ILAFA) offers publications as well as congresses for national, regional and international organisms, providing them with technical, commercial and statistical information. Members of ILAFA can consult a database with tariffs for iron and steel. Furthermore, its website provides a list of regional and international agreements in Latin America.