Chapter 6: INDUSTRIAL
LOCATION FACTORS - IRON AND STEEL INDUSTRY
Iron and Steel Industry
Iron ore when extracted needs two
elements for further processing like limestone and coking coal.
The other factors are water for cooling and energy needed for
heating. Coal mines are usually located in the middle latitudes
hence even iron industries developed there. The secondary
industries too are located there as most would depend on iron or
coalas raw materials. Tropical latitudes hardly have any
significant coal fields and so little industrial development is
Near Forests: Charcoal was used as an energy source for heating the
furnaces. Thus iron ore factories were located near forests to
ensure supply of wood.
Near Coal mines: Coal mines had the necessary labor available.
Besides iron ore was found in coal seams.To get iron ore of 1 ton we
needed 8-12 tons of coal were needed. Hence it was easier to
transport iron ore to coal fields than coal to iron ore.
Near Coastal regions: As iron and coal were depleted the need for
imported coal and iron increased. This made factories to shift to
newer areas in the coastal regions. The coastal factories depended
on imported iron or coal and lowered cost of transportation from
factory to port.
Iron ore and coal producing
regions have a bi-directional relationship. The wagons that
transported coal to iron ore regions would return empty so
un-economical use. Hence the wagons would return with iron ore
towards the coal producing regions. Thus in both these areas
iron and coal industries flourished. E.g: Pittsburg-Lake
New technologies available for steel
production reduced the pull factor of coalmines.
Open hearth system:
Scrap steel could be used and this reduced dependency on mines.
Even natural gas could now be used as fuel.
Oxygen converter process and
electric smelters used less energy and now such
mini-steel plants can be located away from mines and towards
Integrated Steel plants are located
in Eastern India and have a high gestation period. They are
integrated complexes with the entire process from raw material
processing to final conversion into alloys and steel products
being done. Mini Steel Plants are located near cities and they
recycle waste steel to produce finished products. They avoid
competition with integrated steel plants by locating away from
Earlier industries were located near
to the coal mines but as mines depleted some have continued to
remain in the same location. This is known as "Industrial
- Labor is available abundantly and skilled in industrial areas.
But if the industry moves to a newer location such labor might
not be available.
- Rail, road and transportation facilities towards markets and
ports are well developed in the industrial locations. The same
facilities aren't developed in newer locations and so it is more
convenient to import raw materials and modernize operations.
- Government policy is also in favor of of big industrialists as
they have a large work force. The industrialists lobby the
policymakers to get suitable policies passed in their favor.
- Secondary industries don't shift even when the primary
industry might move. So the entrepreneurs are dissuaded from
shifting their locations as it might affect their market base.
One important factor is
strategic location of industries to prevent them from being
attacked. This was followed by USA and USSR after the Second
World War as both shifted industries towards more secure
locations. India too used licensing to locate industries in
backward areas as they might promote development.
Steel Industry in China
In China, the railways was in a
nascent stage and couldn't transport coal to the factories.
Electricity too was a problem in China and so industries moved to
location of coal mines i.e. North China.
Chinese steel industry was located
at the North in Manchuria, Beijing and Wuhan province. China under
Mao's leadership wanted to transform into an industrialized
economy from an agrarian economy. Mao ordered all communes to set
up backyard furnaces and gave them high targets for steel
production. However this experiment failed due to inadequate
training provided to the producers. This meant that the steel
produced was non uniform quality. The agro laborers were diverted
to steel production and this meant that shortage of agro workers.
Thus agriculture productivity declined and led to famines. Forests
were cut for charcoal production and energy source for fuel so
this created soil conservation problems.
Automobile industry needs the support of primary industries like
ferrous and non ferrous industries and also spare parts. The
production in an assembly line needs continuous supply of these
and so automobile industry should be located in areas that are
already established manufacturing locations.
Detroit became the car capital of the world because Pittsburgh
steel industry and the Appalachian coal mines provide the
necessary raw materials like steel and coal for energy supply. New
York is a major hub and is a market for cars also Great lakes
provide access to markets in Canada. Detroit has a long tradition
of building machines and so industries to support automobile
industry like electronics and spare parts have emerged there.
Skilled labor too is available.
Toyota Nagoya region also saw a large shift in production from
silk to automobiles. Silk demand was declining and many laborers
moved towards automobiles and created abundant supply of
laborers.Nagoya a port city facilitated exports and imports of raw
materials. The market also was present in Nagoya. Japanese
automobile industry developed by reverse engineering US
Shipbuilding industry needs the following physical factors viz.
coastal area, deep navigable waters. Economic factors needed are
capital, iron and steel industry, market and skilled engineering
Japanese and German industries too have developed due to the same
reasons viz, coastal areas / estuaries were present, Iron and
steel industry located close or worked on imported iron. Demand
for ships in national and international market. Mechanization was
used or engineering workers were present.
Questions for UPSC Mains
Explain the reasons for the growth of Iron and steel industry
Explain the reasons for the growth of Automobile industry
Explain the reasons for the growth of Shipbuilding industry
Explain the reasons for Industrial inertia