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Over 22M Tons of Wood Pellets Shipped

Over 22M Tons of Wood Pellets Shipped(图1)

According to the North American Wood Fiber Review, global trade of wood pellets jumped more than 21 per cent year-over-year in 2018 when a new record of 22.3 million tons was shipped. The five major pellet exporting countries (the U.S., Canada, Vietnam, Latvia, and Russia) have remained the top exporters for over five years. They accounted for about 69 per cent of the world’s export volume in 2018.

Following the “big five” in 2018 were Estonia, Austria, Malaysia, Denmark and Germany. Pellet production in the U.S. South continued at record pace, driven by a European move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. From the 1Q/18 to the 4Q/18, exports from the region were up almost 50 per cent, further manifesting the U.S.’s role as the world’s largest producer and exporter of wood pellets, reports the NAWFR. The United States ships practically all its pellets to three countries: the United Kingdom, Belgium and Denmark. Only a small share of the pellet production in the U.S. is consumed domestically.

Over 22M Tons of Wood Pellets Shipped(图3)








Demand for imported pellets in Japan and South Korea continued a three-year growth trend in the 4Q/18 when import volumes reached new record highs of 339,000 tons and 993,000 tons, respectively. In 2018, the total annual import volume for the two countries was just over 4.5 million tons, more than doubling in just two years. With the increased trade, prices for pellets landed in both Japan and South Korea have moved upward over the past three years.

Over 22M Tons of Wood Pellets Shipped(图2)

Over 22M Tons of Wood Pellets Shipped(图4)

In the 4Q/18, the price for pellets imported to Japan averaged $182/ton, up almost six per cent from the 4Q/17. Pellet import prices to South Korea, which were nominally lower than those in Japan, rose almost 25 per cent during the same period. The lower average cost for South Korea can be explained by that country’s reliance on pellets from low-cost countries in nearby Vietnam and Malaysia. This is unlike Japan, whose major pellet supplier is British Columbia, a more expensive producer of high-quality FSC and SFI certified pellets.