B.L. Duke Named Finalist for Fastmarkets AMM Awards

B.L. Duke is pleased to announce that they have once again been named a finalist for Fastmarkets AMM Awards for Steel Excellence in the Scrap Metal Company of the Year category. This is the second consecutive year that B.L. Duke has been named a finalist.

Adding to B.L. Duke’s 2019 success’, we were recently named one of Crain’s Fastest Growing Companies for the 4th time!  Every year, Crain’s compiles a list that recognizes Chicago-area companies for significant growth over a five-year period.  B.L. Duke has made the list in 2015, 2017, 2018, and now 2019.  This year, we were ranked number 24 out of 50 companies.  Since last year, we have increased our yearly revenue by 34% and have added over 10 new employees to our team.  We are extremely proud of all our accomplishments and growth over the last year. Lastly, we are grateful for our team for their hard work and dedication to making B.L. Duke a bigger and better company year after year. 

2018 Fastmarkets AMM Finalist
2018 Fastmarkets AMM Finalist

“From officially launching our new stevedoring and storage division, B.L. Duke River Transport, to investing in technology and equipment that’s elevated how we do business, 2018 was another game-changing year for our company,” said Lou Plucinski, President & CEO of B.L. Duke. “I’m personally very proud of our team and all the work they’ve put forth that’s helped us gain this recognition.”

Every year, Fastmarkets recognizes the highest achieving companies for world-class innovation in steel and related industries. The finalists for 2018 span across 13 categories including flat steel and tube and pipe producers, raw materials providers and recyclers, as well as purveyors of financial and legal services critical to the industry, among others. Winners across all categories will be announced on June 18, 2019 in New York City.

Chicago Scrap Metal Recycling

“Firms that are finalists embody best-in-class practices as measured by global standards. This year’s outstanding finalists demonstrate that innovation and initiative are powering the industry’s strength and resiliency,” Fastmarkets’ CEO Raju Daswani said in a press release.

2018 was a continued year of growth and expansion for B.L. Duke, also named one of Crain’s Fast Fifty for the second year in a row. In addition to this recognition, B.L. Duke launched B.L. Duke River Transport on a 30.5-acre property with a 250,000 square foot warehouse, added a second peddler buy back, re-invested in new equipment, implemented groundbreaking new technology to serve their customers, and added 33 new team members, including an active member of the Air Force Reserves. They also donated time and money to local charities.

“We’re honored to be nominated among many important players in our industry and look forward to even more innovation and growth in 2019 and beyond,” said Plucinski.

For more information, contact Shannon Collins, at scollins@blduke.com or visit blduke.com.

We couldn’t be more excited to announce the launch of our new wholly owned subsidiary, B.L. Duke River Terminal. Our new division will focus on stevedoring services with both indoor and outdoor storage. It gives us the ability to transload finished steel product, including coils, bar stock, rebar, wire, and structural steel, to rail or truck from barges coming from mills along the river systems and imports. According to this week’s AMM article, B.L. Duke adds steel terminal services, with trucking rates and availability becoming increasingly inhibitive, B.L. Duke will continue to grow it’s barge and rail services not only as a means to control our own logistics costs but now as a diversification strategy and new revenue source.

“We’re always looking for new ways to strengthen our services and improve cost-savings for our customers,” said Lou Plucinski, B.L. Duke’s President & CEO. “This expansion allows us to help link mills with our customers and suppliers and illustrates just one more way we’re revolutionizing the recycling industry.”

B.L. Duke River Transport will be housed on our recently acquired site of the former Gerdau Rolling Mill property at 1 Industry Avenue, Joliet, Illinois. The property is conveniently located adjacent to our Scrap Metal processing facility in Joliet, equipped with barge and rail terminals. With 30.5 acres and a 250,000 square foot warehouse, this will nearly double our footprint to almost 64 acres. The new location is significantly closer to Chicagoland’s industrial areas compared to Indiana ports. In addition, the new site is in close proximity to several major highways and rail terminals, including I-55, I-80, and I-355.

“With trucking rates and availability becoming increasingly inhibitive, we will continue to grow our barge and rail services not only as a means to control our own logistics costs but now as a diversification strategy and new revenue source,” said Plucinski.

The new division comes after our continued growth and success in 2017. Last year, we increased our sales revenue by 65% and added 32 employees to our team. We were even named a finalist for the 2018 American Metal Market’s Steel Excellence Award in the Scrap Company of the Year category!

“You can bet that we have even more plans in store for 2018. We’re excited to expand our scrap-metal processing capabilities and strengthen our relationships with both mills and our customer base,” said Plucinski.

Contact us today at info@blduketerminal.com to find out how B.L. Duke River Transport can help transload and store your finished goods!

Scrap yard in Joliet

We’re excited to announce B.L Duke has grown!  Over the last six months we’ve added 28 employees, 10,000 tons per month and a 25-acre scrap yard in Joliet.  This new yard increases our sales territory and offers additional competitive advantages.

“The Joliet yard expands our service range south and west of the Chicago metro area. With logistics being our biggest expense, the second location now allows B.L. Duke to be more competitive in this region,” says B.L. Duke’s VP of Sales, Marissa Plucinski.

With the addition of two of the largest ferrous balers in the region, we’ve tripled our baling capacity to over 1000 tons per day. Conveniently located on the Des Plaines River and equipped with two barge docks, dual balers and  two CN Direct rail spurs, B.L. Duke is the only scrap metal company in the Chicagoland area servicing industrial customers with balers and barge access.  These resources allow B.L. Duke to drastically decrease transportation cost and market materials to both domestic and international markets.

“This new facility gives us a competitive advantage,” states Lou Plucinski, B.L. Duke’s President and CEO.  “The additional barge access allows B.L. Duke to take advantage of what has been stronger southern and international markets.”

With a focus on transparency and responsiveness B.L. Duke has complemented this expansion with the roll-out of new GPS logistics technology.  B.L. Duke is arming drivers with tablets that enable customers to track real-time pick-up information, pictures and load details.

We are grateful to our customers who partnered with us through the downturn.  B.L. Duke is committed to revolutionizing the recycling industry while sticking to our core values.  Our growth can be attributed to our willingness to innovate,  focus on new technologies and emphasis on safety and efficiency.

For a fresh look at your recycling program, contact B.L. Duke at 773.778.3000 or info@blduke.com.

AMM-logoIn a recent interview with American Metal Market Daily, B.L. Duke President Lou Plucinski discussed the advantages that small- and mid-size scrap metal companies like B.L. Duke experience during down markets.

He attributes his company’s recent success to the company’s size and agility.

“Being our size allows us to be more flexible to our customers. We can go anywhere fast. Mill demand changes fast, and being able to be flexible in shipments and grades helps mills as well,” Plucinski said.

Plucinski also discussed the impact that the recent drop in ferrous scrap prices has had on the industry as a whole. B.L. Duke’s edge through the downturn was attributed to taking a fresh approach within the industry.

“We know the stigma scrap metal companies have, and B.L. Duke is truly revolutionizing the industry because we have brought a new level of transparency with customers with groundbreaking software systems that allow customers full access real time,” said Plucinski.

Read the full article, Small Yards Have Edge During Downturns, Exec at www.amm.com.

B.L. Duke delivers customized recycling programs with game changing efficiencies.  Established in 2000, we’ve integrated recycling, logistics and demolition to deliver programs that streamline operations. Learn more about B.L. Duke at www.blduke.com.

For a fresh look at your recycling program contact B.L. Duke at 773.778.3000 or info@blduke.com.

Crain’s Chicago Fast Fifty CompaniesWe’re more than excited to announce that B.L. Duke was chosen as one of Crain’s 2015 Fast Fifty Companies! Every year, Crain’s releases their infamous Fast Fifty list, which recognizes companies that have shown significant growth over a five-year period.

According to Brigid Sweeney of Crain’s Chicago Business, “B.L. Duke was recognized because the company has grown nearly 300 percent over the past five years by recycling metal, plastic and cardboard refuse, processing it and selling it to steel mills and end consumers.”

The list includes Chicagoland companies from the IT, Healthcare, Construction, Transportation and many more industries and we’re honored to be the only company representing the recycling industry this year.


Lou Plucinski, President

“We’re humbled to have made the list among so many notable companies.  It’s an honor to be recognized,” said President & CEO Lou Plucinski.  “I remember not that long ago loading our first truck and today due to the tenacity and creativity of our team we’re shipping multiple commodities via barge on a monthly basis.”

When Lou was asked what is currently spurring our rapid growth, he explained without hesitation, our sales and operations staff.  B.L. Duke has been successful at acquiring new market share but even more successful at retaining it.  We can only attribute that to our team creates great relationships and delivers on what we promise.

B.L. Duke’s team is revolutionizing the recycling industry.  We’re committed to evolving our practices as the industry needs change.  We recently invested in the latest technology in scrap management which creates a new level of communication and transparency with our customers.

For a fresh look at your recycling program, contact us at info@blduke.com or call 773.778.3000.

IMG_0974-31Whatever the scope of the task at hand, B.L. Duke is dedicated to providing a solution for our customers. On October 17th, 2014, B.L. Duke was contacted by a long time customer to salvage and recycle a construction barge that had broken in half and sunk in the Chicago RiverThe 200′ long barge was being used to haul clay from a high rise construction project before it sunk in the West Loop between  Lake and Randolph street bridges.

As the General Contractor, B.L. Duke’s main goal was to safely raise the barge from the bottom of the Chicago River and transport it to a dry dock to be cut up and recycled.  The endeavor was a coordinated effort that included Clark Construction, Ozinga, Thatcher Construction and Roy Strom Trucking and Excavating.  Understanding the urgency of the situation, these great Chicago establishments leaped in with both feet, immediately allocating resources to the project.  The US Coast Guard and Chicago Police Marine Division provided assistance with coordinating commercial and pleasure boat traffic safely around the wreck site.  The Army Corps of Engineers and the USCG Salvage Engineers in Washington D.C. consulted on the salvage plan and issued permits for the operation.

screenshotpic-300x166City-300x225This was an extremely time sensitive operation.  Not only was the barge blocking the way for commercial traffic on the Chicago River, the O’brien locks on the Cal Sag was scheduled to close for reconstruction the 1st week of November.  This closure would block the only other waterway connecting Lake Michigan with The Chicago River, The Illinois river and ultimately the Mississippi.

On November 7th, the barge was successfully resurrected and floated downstream to a safe area in shallow water out of the way of traffic. Many techniques were used in the salvage including but not limited to:  De-watering of the barge tanks using special underwater salvage hatches and utilizing 40′ steel tanks that were floated inside the sunk barge to provide mid-ship buoyancy.  Since the barge was broken in half, another 200′ barge was secured to the side to provide longitudinal stability for the trip downstream.  Two tug boats were needed for the transport. Egan Marine answered the call with their 2200 horse power 120′ tug, the “David E.” and The “Keiley E.”

B.L. Duke will process and recycle over 550,000 lbs of scrap metal. To learn more about B.L. Duke’s recycling programs and value added services, contact us today.