Southwest Alabama economy to benefit from Austal USA, SSAB Americas deal – Alabama NewsCenter
Austal USA has contracted with Alabama steel producer SSAB for ships being built in Mobile. The supplier partnership directly supports hundreds of jobs in the Mobile area, said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh.
The U.S. Navy in October awarded Austal a $145 million contract to build steel-hulled towing, salvage and rescue ships, initiating Austal’s first steel ship construction program. Austal will source SSAB steel plating of various strengths and sizes capable of being cut, shaped, welded and fitted for support ships and potential combat ships.
“SSAB not only provides us with quality steel, but also great flexibility due to its location adjacent to us here in Mobile, Alabama,” Murdaugh said. “The ability to work quickly and in person with them on current and future steel requirements by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard is an asset to Austal that will support our business and economic growth in our community.”
Austal USA broke ground on a $100 million steel manufacturing line in March 2020 to help meet the federal government’s steel-ship demand. The state-of-the-art production line will be operational in April 2022, Murdaugh said.
“Austal USA is a respected and valued partner to SSAB Americas,” said Jeff Moskaluk, SSAB Americas senior vice president and chief commercial officer. “Our participation in such an important and vital project, that will strengthen both the economic and national security of our country, makes this partnership even more meaningful. We are proud to work closely with Austal USA and demonstrate the service, quality and value that is delivered from an interconnected and local supply chain here in Alabama.”
Austal USA in November received a $72.5 million Navy contract to provide services and support for Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) deployed to the western Pacific and Indian Ocean. It was the third major Navy contract the past four years, said Murdaugh, who became company president Sept. 9. If all options are exercised, the contract will be for five years and bring the total value to $215.8 million.
“Our consistent on-budget and on-schedule delivery of quality ships continues to lead the industry,” Murdaugh said. “Our highly skilled workforce prides itself on maintaining the excellence our customers have come to know and expect from Austal.”
In September 2020, Austal purchased 15 acres of new waterfront pier space, 400,000 square feet of covered and outside fabrication facilities and a 20,000-ton floating dry dock along the Mobile River. The area across from the 165-acre Austal USA headquarters campus is used for repairing ships up to 1,000 feet long.
SSAB’s mill in Mobile was founded in 2001 and is one of the world’s most advanced steel facilities. Its two electric arc furnace lines have a production capacity of more than 300,000 tons annually.
The SSAB Americas Mobile mill operates with the least possible impact on the environment, said Communications Director Leigh Perry-Herndon. The company uses more than 94% recycled scrap materials, including metals such as discarded appliances and old car parts diverted from landfills.