Material flow of iron in global supply chain

Kenichi Nakajima, Keisuke Nansai, Kazuyo Matsubae, Tetsuya Nagasaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, sustainable management of resources has become an increasingly recognized issue. Accordingly, interest in understanding the relationship between natural resources consumption and the global product supply chain has also been increasing. Material flow analysis (MFA) is a useful tool for understanding resource consumption and material cycles in national economies. However, detailed MFA studies of the materials embedded in foreign trade flows are rare. This study identified global trade flow of iron embedded in bilateral trade between 231 countries by multiplying the trade volume of the commodities in the BACI (Base pour l'Analyse du Commerce International) database and the iron content of each commodity. We focused on the cases of Japan, China, and United States, and estimated the mass of iron embedded in imports and export. The identified total flows of iron embedded in international trade were 1.15 × 109 t-Fe with 35.2% of the flows concentrated in three countries, Japan, China and United States, which are major crude steel production countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2657-2662
Number of pages6
JournalISIJ International
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Input-output analysis
  • International trade
  • Iron and steel
  • Material flow analysis
  • Supply chain


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