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Recent Iron and Steel Sector Case Studies

Recent expert witness cases that our consultants have been involved in include:

Mill Operations including Steel Plant Performance

  • Expert witness involvement relating to operation of a special steel rod and bar rolling mill in Egypt
  • Arbitration relating to the quality of hot rolled steel strip and plate at a UK steel production site
  • Expert witness on the supply and performance of mill equipment supplied by an Italian firm for a bar and section mill operation in the USA
  • Arbitration role in a claim for damage in service to rolling mill backup rolls for a steel plate mill in Belgium
  • Working in expert role with Italian Power Generation Company in relation to causation of accelerated compressor blade failures (analysis of gas quality & metallurgy of blade failures).

Contract Terms including Quality

  • Arbitration concerning breach of a shipping contract for the movement of iron ore from Australia to China; for London-based law firm, representing the iron ore shipper
  • Arbitration concerning a contract for supply of steel slabs between the largest steel producer in South America and the world's largest supplier of merchant steel slab; expert report and potential attendance at arbitration in New York: for US-based law firm, representing the purchaser
  • Expert witness role for a Portuguese bar and rod producer regarding the quality of continuous cast billet supply
  • Assessment of quantum of damages regarding a billet shipment alleged by buyer to be sub-standard and outside contract specification. Acted an expert on pricing and valuation matters in conjunction with technical and legal advisers: for London-based based law firm representing the steel supplier
  • Expert witness in a commercial dispute between an Indian iron ore supplier and a Pakistani integrated steel company (ICC International Court of Arbitration, London).

Pricing Issues

  • Arbitration concerning pricing of steel scrap, including preparation of expert report; for London-based law firm, representing the purchaser
  • Arbitration concerning the pricing of steel reinforcing bar and wire rod, including preparation of expert report; for London law firm, representing the purchaser
  • Arbitration concerning pricing of iron ore from India to a purchaser in China, including of preparation of expert report for Hong Kong law firm representing the purchaser
  • Arbitration concerning pricing of iron ore from one of the world's largest suppliers in Australia to one of the world's largest consumers in Japan: initial instructions from Sydney-based law firm, representing the iron ore shipper
  • Provision of information on historical prices of steel scrap for use in arbitration between a shipping company and purchaser of steel scrap: for London-based law firm, representing the shipping company
  • Work on pricing implications to coking coal contract following a shipping incident which occurred whilst cargo was in transit from Australia, to China.
  • We have extensive experience in the steel and raw material pricing environment. This includes modelling of freight costs between any ports worldwide. This understanding has been of invaluable use to clients seeking to value cargoes on an alternative basis.
  • Our experts understand INCOTERMS and have the ability to calculate the various netbacks involved in converting CFR (Carriage and Freight) and CIF (Carriage Insurance Freight) to FOB (Free on Board).
  • We follow steel and raw material prices closely and understand the various methods of price determination including weighted average (WA) and market on close (MOC). We have extensive databases of historic steel and raw materials prices.

Shipping - Cargo Damage, Valuations, Salvage, Freight Calculations

  • Expert witness for a ship owner, against claims for damage at sea and the repair of merchant section mill equipment supplied to a steel mill in the USA
  • Assessment of quantum of damage for a US steel processor, arising from salt-water induced corrosion of steel cargo during a Transatlantic crossing. Emphasis in the first instance was placed on quantifying the full market value of the cargo at a time point when international steel prices were declining very fast
  • Other assessments arising from rust damage during transportation e.g. of rebar (steel reinforcing bar)
  • Valuations of iron ore lost from a bulk carrier whilst transiting the Suez Canal
  • Valuation of a steel cargo for a salvage claim (for salvors and cargo interests)
  • Expertise with shipping and freight calculations with the ability to calculate freight and shipping rates for any metals or raw materials cargo from any location to any other location in a vessel of specified capacity, over a specific timeframe.

Raw Material Non-Delivery

  • Assessment of quantum of damage for a Turkish steelmaker, arising from non-delivery of pig iron from an East European supplier
  • Expert witness work for Turkish billet producer in dispute between supplier of metallics for EAF operation (LCIA Arbitration) versus supplier of pig iron
  • Work for supplier, in determining damages arising on cancelled large tonnage iron ore shipments. Assessment required detailed knowledge of price histories and grade / value-in-use premiums
  • Support on behalf of a Hong Kong maritime company in dispute involving the historical market value of abandoned iron ore shipments. The task involved a review of the certificates of weight and analysis; application of in-use pricing methodology versus historical published indices; and determinations of opportunity cost; and value re-evaluation as part of the cargo was sold to a different buyer than contractually agreed.

Mill Design / Installation of Plant and Equipment

  • Litigation relating to alleged faulty installation of melting, casting and rolling mill machinery, including independent commentary on design, erection and performance issues.

Business Rates Determinations

  • Support related to an Appeal in the Upper Chamber involving the setting of business rates for steelworks on behalf of a Government Agency. In this Contractors Valuation case, the issues revolved around Stage 5 adjustments which required an understanding of the interdependence of commercial activities at different steelmaking locations. Expert witness involvement focused on clarifying this interdependence, and associated financial implications, plus court attendance for cross examination
  • Participated in regard land and rent evaluation dispute between landlord and operating integrated steel facility in South Wales.

Asset Valuations

  • Acted for a London-based law firm on behalf of insurers regarding the valuation of an iron ore mine that was in dispute
  • Arbitration concerning valuation of a raw material stockpile
  • Valuation of iron ore assets for client based on re-evaluation of contracts previously tied to annual benchmark prices.

Steel Trading

  • Assisted London insurance broking firm in understanding common practices relating to letters of credit. Was able to demonstrate that documents presented in a particular case were invalid in proving origin and destination of steel shipments.
  • Advised QC on use and misuse of post-dated cheques in Middle East steel trading dispute.
  • Hearing attendance with testimony on the subject of common market practices in international steel scrap trading. Expert role included discussions of Bills of Loading, Letters of Credit and practical aspects of steel sector deal-making.

Other Cases

  • Expert witness in case between landlord and closed steel company (UK) regarding storage of large piles of secondary steelmaking slag waste on site (High Court of Justice, Chancery Division).

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Expert witness support - steel sector case studies.