A new steel capability for Australian defence and shipbuilding


The Hub provides steel processing capability including straight plasma cutting.

As Australia’s shipbuilding program gains momentum, the Navy’s next generation ships will need many materials, including steel. Manufacturers’ Monthly caught up with BlueScope Distribution to find out about its new BlueScope Distribution National Product, Processing & Solutions Hub.

In the recent Federal Budget, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced more than half a trillion dollars towards Australia’s defence forces by the end of the decade, including $10 billion for naval infrastructure and $6.4 billion for Collins class submarines.

An additional $137 million will go towards maritime surveillance and Border Force’s response capabilities, while the defence force will get an extra $75 million to protect Australia’s maritime interests.

In his budget speech, Frydenberg said “the world is less stable. We must invest more in the defence of our nation. This is what we are doing after those opposite allowed defence spending to fall to its lowest level since 1938. We have put in place a 10‑year defence capability plan worth more than $270 billion supporting more than 100,000 jobs.”

BlueScope Distribution has a rich history of providing end-to-end solutions to the defence industry, servicing Australian businesses with quality products and processing.

With the push for defence projects evidently front of mind for government, one of Australia’s largest steel and aluminium distributors will be at the forefront of helping business who manufacture and fabricate products that are used to deliver Australia’s biggest defence initiatives.

BlueScope Distribution’s National Product, Processing and Solutions Hub.

BlueScope Distribution has invested $6.9 million into a new custom site strategically located in Unanderra, NSW, nearby the BlueScope steelworks and other supply partners including Bisalloy Steel.

As well as extensive steel processing capability, the facility will have a dedicated project management team and access to local technical know-how.

BlueScope Distribution has spent $6.9 million on its new hub.

Sam Gerovasilis, general manager BlueScope Distribution says the move will enable the business to further support the delivery of national projects in the defence, infrastructure, renewables, mining oil & gas, transport and agriculture segments.

“When we looked at the sovereign capability we have in Australia, we saw an opportunity to complement our 15 existing BlueScope Distribution sites around the country with a national capability to deliver product, processing and solutions for large customers,” he said. “We are a single source supplier of sovereign capability. We provide steel and aluminium, design processing outcomes rather than just standard products, and our semi-finished components can really help the efficiency of those large-scale projects.”

As well as supporting Navy shipbuilding projects, The hub will also distribute steel and aluminium products for other Defence projects, such as the Army’s Land programs, and civilian sectors in infrastructure, renewable energy, transport, agriculture, mining, and oil and gas.

BlueScope Distribution’s National Product, Processing and Solutions Hub provides customers with steel processing capability including:

  • Straight plasma cutting
  • Constant angle bevel
  • Complex variable bevel & K bevel
  • Power hole thermal cut
  • Drilling
  • Tapping
  • Etching
  • Laser or inkjet printing
  • Blast and prime available on request

Michael McPhan, BlueScope Distribution’s national operations manager leading the facility, said its strategic location will ensure BlueScope Distribution provides a seamless supply chain solution for its customers.

“The Illawarra location is close to supply partners like the Port Kembla steelworks and wharf facilities, and major road and rail infrastructure which will help with logistics and the efficient delivery of product to customers Australia-wide,” he said.

McPhan added that BlueScope Distribution’s 16th site will be home to the unique solutions required for Australia’s most significant projects.

“No longer do our customers need to invest their own time and resources in co-ordinating the steel and aluminium supply chain or the processing of semi-finished components – we’ve invested in this capability to help them find the freedom to do what they do best,” he said. “This, along with a multitude of other value-adds, is the driving force behind this customer-focused investment. BlueScope Distribution’s National Product, Processing and Solutions Hub is in line with BlueScope’s company purpose to create and inspire smart solutions in steel, to strengthen our communities for the future.”

The BlueScope Distribution National Product, Processing and Solutions Hub team will be exhibiting at the IndoPacific Maritime Exposition at the ICC in Sydney May 10th-12th. The team will be available to discuss this new capability and the final day of the exhibition will also mark the official opening of this new capability.  Anyone interested in a guided tour can register via the BlueScope Distribution website.