A Hammond service center, which is one of the largest distributors of tin mill and coated steel products, is starting to see 5 to 6 percent increases in sales.
Berlin Metals is benefiting from improving economic conditions that include a decline in unemployment, president Roy Berlin said. Economic growth has been modest – between 1.5 and 3 percent – over the past few years, but most of the businesses the service center suppliers have been seeing sales pick up.
"Our shipments are strong," he said. "I see nothing stopping that going forward."
Sales are up over the first quarter of last year despite the harsh winter, which has made it difficult for Northwest Indiana steel mills to receive raw materials and fill orders on time, Berlin said. Trucking also has been a problem because of new regulations that restrict the amount of hours that truckers can work.