In-plant logistics for steelworks services are indispensible to the production of iron and steel products. Transportation is needed for iron ore, coal, and other raw materials as well as semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, and billets. In addition to managing storage yards for raw materials unloaded from domestic and international transport ships, we also handle the in-plant rail transport of molten iron and steel from blast furnaces, semi-finished products from steelworks, and finished products such as wire rods, coils, and heavy plates from plants. Our services even extend to the storage and distribution of these products.

We have created a computerized integrated management system that covers everything from yards and in-plant railways to warehouses. Employing this system, our IT network allows plant operators to comprehensively monitor operations from product quality control, safety assurance, and cost control through environmental impact reduction measures

The Company is working to make major changes to its in-plant logistics for steelworks services in preparation for the suspension of blast furnace operations at Kobe Steel’s Kobe Works and the consolidation of upstream operations at Kakogawa Works in November 2017.

Kobelco Logistics transports coal and other raw materials to the independent power producer (IPP) that Kobe Steel operates at its Kobe Works. The IPP serves the local community, supplying about 70% of the power consumed by Kobe City. The planned installation of facilities for a second wholesale IPP operation at the Kobe Works will expand the scope of our logistics services.

In a steel industry first, we created a start-stop system for a diesel locomotive used for in-plant transport at Kobe Steel’s Kakogawa Works. Rail-mounted trains are traditionally the principal mode of in-plant transport at steelworks. Kakogawa Works is served by a total of 62 kilometers of rail, and 39 diesel locomotives. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, around 30 diesel locomotives can be found transporting high-temperature molten material, steel products, and semi-finished products.

Of course, operational frequency can vary greatly depending on the production schedule, resulting in long wait times. Waiting locomotives are usually idling, and utilization rates are about 43% on average. From the perspective of combating global warming, this contributes to unnecessary emissions of CO2 while also imposing a huge cost burden.

With this in mind, we improved the control system for our diesel locomotives and realized a full start-stop function similar to that used by many automobiles. The function has reduced total fuel consumption by around 25% and helped reduce annual CO2 emissions by 1,032 tons and fuel costs by about ¥35.5 million.