MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — Two of Mobile County’s largest industries have entered into a manufacturing agreement. Austal USA has contracted with SSAB Americas to provide steel for its new Navy ships.

In October 2021, Austal USA received a $145-million contract from the U.S. Navy to build steel-hulled Towing, Salvage, and Rescue ships (T-ATS). Previously, Austal has made only aluminum vessels at its downtown Mobile shipyard.  

The supplier partnership will directly support hundreds of jobs in the greater Mobile area at both Austal and SSAB. The SSAB steel mill in Axis will provide various strength and sized steel plating capable of being cut, shaped, welded, and fitted.

“SSAB not only provides us with quality steel but also great flexibility due to its location adjacent to us here in Mobile, Ala.,” Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh said in a press release. “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.”

“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,” SSAB Americas Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Moskaluk said in a press release.

Austal USA broke ground on a new steel manufacturing line in March 2020 to meet the steel-ship demand signal of the U.S. government. The new line will be operational in April, with Austal poised to start construction on the recently awarded U.S. Navy T-ATS program.

Alabama Congressman Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) says the partnership is a big win for the steel industry and shipbuilding industry in south Alabama.

“This partnership is great news for our local workforce and economy, plus it will strengthen the national security footprint of the United States,” Carl said. “I’m proud to represent Austal USA and SSAB, and I look forward to their continued success for years to come.”