New, Used and Surplus Steel

measurement-steelWhen it comes to purchasing steel from your local New England steel service and supply center, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the terms that are used within the steel industry, so you will know exactly what you are ordering and what you should expect to receive. The steel industry has been around for generations in this country and, as a result, there are many different terms that have been used over the years. Some standard units of measurement that you might be used to, might not be used when you go to purchase new, used and surplus steel in Westport, MA, so it is important to know alternative terms that can be used that mean the same thing.

The standard rate of measurement for steel products in the United States is pounds. The method used for pricing is based on dollars per “hundredweight”, which is sometimes written as $/cwt or $/100 pounds in notations. Not to confuse things even further, but ordering is usually done in tons. What this means is that there are essentially three completely different units of measure that are used when ordering and receiving steel in the US. It is important to understand what each of these measurements is and how they relate to the other two standard measurements in order to effectively navigate the steel industry.

You may have seen this term written out as “hundredweight” or as “cwt”, but what it equates to is 100 pounds. It is a standard unit of measurement used within the steel industry. Because steel is priced in hundredweight, but purchased by the ton, it is important to convert dollars per hundredweight ($/cwt) to dollars per ton ($/ton). The math for this is the multiply $/cwt by 20. If the goal is to get to dollars per pound ($/pound), just divide $/cwt by 100. If you need to figure cost by going from dollars per ton to hundredweight, simply divide $/ton by 20.

When you go to your local Massachusetts steel supply to purchase pipe, tubing, cold rolled steel or hot rolled steel by the ton, you will want to be sure what unit of measurement is being used when a price is quoted. For example, if the supplier of new, used and surplus steel in Westport says that the price of the steel in question is $30 and doesn’t say anything about weight, you can estimate that the price is based on $/cwt. For example, if we were to say that the average price for hot rolled steel was $600/ton, then the $30 price quote would refer to $30/cwt, which is $600/ton divided by 20.

In the shortest definition, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. This term of standard measurement is also sometimes referred to as a “short” or a “net” ton. In the United States, quantities of cold rolled steel and other types of steel products are almost always sold in tons. A typical purchase order would consist of 20 tons or more of steel and the rate of sale would be based on dollars per hundredweight or $/cwt.

Another term of measurement that you might see is the tonne, which can sometimes be confused with the US ton. A tonne is sometimes referred to as a metric ton or MT and is equivalent to 1,000 kilograms. This standard measurement is often used when dealing with a foreign source, such as Canada or Mexico. It is important to clarify the measurement that you are using, as you might be saying “tons” but they are hearing “tonnes” and are thinking metric tons, which are much larger. Make sure that you are on the same page with regard to measurement, even with companies that are here in the United States.

Converting a metric ton to pounds would get you 2,204.6 pounds, providing 10.23 percent more weight than a standard US ton, which is equal to 2,000 pounds. You can see why some suppliers refer to the US ton as a “short” ton, as it is smaller than the metric ton. To ensure equal pricing, the cost of a US ton should be 90.72 percent of a tonne. When using metric tons, you may also see pricing set at $/100 kilograms with the shipment of hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel and other steel products being measured in kilograms.

Another related term of measurement is the gross ton or GT. Now this unit is also known in the steel industry as a “long” ton or an “imperial” ton. This term of measurement is used to measure steel scrap in the US and is equal to 2,240 pounds. Compared to a standard “short” ton, a gross ton is 12 percent larger. What this means is that a $400/GT price for scrap steel would be equal to $357/short ton, which translates to $17.86/cwt.

If you are dealing with used and surplus steel in Westport or with a scrap metal dealer, you might be saying “tons” and meaning 2,000 pounds of standard US measurement, while the supplier might be thinking “gross tons” and be meaning 2,240 pounds. Once again, it is important to clear this up early on in conversation to make sure both parties are talking about the same unit of measurement.

Where to Buy New, Used and Surplus Steel
Mid City Steel can help you take the guesswork out of ordering and purchasing hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel and a variety of other quality steel products by taking care of the details for you. Visit our local office in Westport, MA or visit us in Bozrah, CT and speak with one of our steel sales professionals if you have any questions. Our team can help you to get the quality, quantity and type of steel that you require, providing you with reliable steel supply services that you can count on. Give us a call today at 774-319-5400 to find out more about our products and services.