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With the Netherlands still awaiting the formation of a new government, there have been a couple of interesting developments in recent weeks directly or indirectly related to our industry. A theft of copper cables in Luxembourg made headlines because, as a consequence, oil spilled into the River Mellier, leading into the Semois, and is negatively impacting fisheries and tourism. Meanwhile, zinc manufacturer Nyrstar announced the suspension of operations at its Budel facility in the Netherlands, with the company’s reasons for the decision including reduced demand resulting in lower pricing, high energy needs and the associated elevated costs, and a shortage of government support. 

More recently, there was also worrying news about Belgium-based bus manufacturer Van Hool where the announcement of major job losses has sparked much discussion of fair global trade and providing a level playing field being the EU’s Achilles’ heel. The EU is being challenged to come to a unified decision given the different interests, such as those of German and French automotive producers. 

Meanwhile, producers within the Benelux of military hardware and equipment are at capacity and performing well, with announcements being made to expand operations.

When we look at the current recycling landscape, material availability remains tight. The recent jump in the copper market made additional units available and demand is strong locally as well for export. Cables remain difficult to source and yards seem to be continuing to invest in upgrading their equipment to obtain cleaner units. On the industrial side, we are noticing a continuation of internal recycling/reuse, which leads to greater sustainability and cost-cutting.