SCHNITZER STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC. 8 / Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Form 10-K 2017 including end-of-life vehicles. Higher average selling prices and supply volumes, in combinationwith increased sales diversification and the benefits to our operating efficiency from our multi-year cost savings and productivity initiatives, led to significant improvements in our operating performance year over year. AMR also competes for the sale of used auto parts to retail customers with other self-service and full-service auto dismantlers. The auto parts industry is characterized by diverse and fragmented competition and comprises a large number of aftermarket and used auto parts suppliers of all sizes, ranging from large, multinational corporations which serve both original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket on a worldwide basis to small, local entities which have more limited supply. The main competitive factors impacting the retail sale of auto parts are price, availability of product, quality and convenience of the retail stores to customers. AMR's ability to process substantial volumes of scrap metal products, advanced processing equipment, number of locations, access to a variety of different modes of transportation, geographic dispersion and the operating synergies of its integrated platform provide its business with the ability to compete successfully in varying market conditions. CSS Business CSS operates a steel mini-mill in McMinnville, Oregon that produces a range of finished steel long products such as reinforcing bar (rebar) and wire rod. The primary feedstock for the manufacture of its products is recycled scrap metal. CSS's steel mill obtains substantially all of its scrap metal raw material requirements from its integrated metals recycling and joint venture operations. CSS's metals recycling operations are comprised of a collection, shredding and export operation in Portland, Oregon, four feeder yard operations located in Oregon and Southern Washington, and one metals recycling joint venture ownership interest. Additionally, CSS purchases small volumes of ferrous scrap metal from AMR and sells ferrous and nonferrous recycled scrap metal into the export market. CSS's revenues from external sales of recycled scrap metal account for less than 10% of SSI's consolidated revenues in all of the periods presented. Manufacturing CSS’s melt shop includes an EAF, a ladle refining furnace with enhanced steel chemistry refining capabilities, and a five-strand continuous billet caster, permitting the mill to produce special alloy grades of steel not currently produced by other mills on the West Coast of the U.S. The melt shop produced 489 thousand, 499 thousand and 600 thousand short tons of steel in the form of billets during fiscal 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. The substantial majority of these billets are used by CSS in its rolling mill to produce finished steel products. Through the end of fiscal 2016, CSS operated two computerized rolling mills. In the first quarter of fiscal 2017, we implemented a plan to shut down and decommission the older rolling mill, which was entered into service over 40 years ago, and which in recent years had been producing only a small proportion of CSS's finished steel products. This action, in conjunction with an initiative to enhance the operating efficiency of the newer and more technologically advanced rolling mill, is expected to improve product quality, while expanding its overall effective annual production capacity. The newer rolling mill has an effective annual production capacity of 580 thousand tons of finished steel products. Billets produced in CSS’s melt shop are reheated in a natural gas-fueled furnace and are then hot-rolled through the rolling mill to produce finished products. CSS continues to monitor the market for new products and, through discussions with customers, to identify additional opportunities to expand its product lines and sales. CSS has an operating permit issued under Title V of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which governs certain air quality standards. The permit is based upon an annual production capacity of 950 thousand tons. The permit was first issued in 1998 and has since been renewed through February 1, 2018. The permit renewal process occurs every five years and is underway for the next renewal period. Products CSS produces semi-finished goods (billets) and finished goods, consisting of rebar, coiled rebar, wire rod, merchant bar and other specialty products. Semi-finished goods are predominantly used for CSS’s finished products, but also have been produced for sale to other steel mills. Rebar is produced in either straight length steel bars or coils and used to increase the strength of poured concrete. Coiled rebar is preferred by some manufacturers because it reduces the waste generated by cutting individual lengths to meet customer specifications and, therefore, improves yield. Wire rod is steel rod, delivered in coiled form, used by manufacturers to produce a variety of products such as chain link fencing, nails, wire, stucco netting, and pre-stressed concrete strand. Merchant bar consists of rounds and square steel bars used by manufacturers to produce a wide variety of products, including bolts, threaded bars, and dowel bars. CSS is also certified to produce high-quality rebar to support nuclear power plant construction and has a license to produce certain patented high-strength specialty steels.