2010 wood pellet exports from North America to EU reach 1.6m tonnes

An estimated 1.6 million tonnes of pellets were shipped from the US and Canada to the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium in 2010, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review.

North America is now one of the major suppliers of wood pellets to Europe, with volumes doubling since 2008.

In a move to reach the EU's 2020 renewable energy targets, many European countries have increased their consumption of wood biomass in the form of both wood chips and pellets.

The consumption of wood pellets in 2010 reached 11 million tonnes, a 7% increase compared to 2009 volumes.

The demand for wood pellets in some European nations, including Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Denmark and the UK, is higher than domestic production, resulting in increased imports from other countries within the EU, in addition to North America.

In 2010 Canadian exports to Europe reached approximately 1 million tonnes in shipments. Canada has been the primary pellet provider to Europe for 10 years, while exports from the US to the EU did not begin until 2008 when 85,000 tonnes were shipped to the Netherlands. Nevertheless, this figure has grown dramatically and in 2010 reached almost 600,000 tonnes.

The North American Wood Fiber Review reports that most of the pellets shipped from the US to Europe throughout 2010 ended up in the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium, while a small number of shipments were destined for Sweden and Denmark. According to the review: 'In 2010 almost 50% of the Atlantic trade was destined for the Netherlands, while one-third landed in ports in the UK.'

'High demand for oil by Asia and Latin America and the uncertain situation in the oil producing countries in the Middle East and northern Africa has boosted oil prices about 20% the past three months. Higher oil prices will benefit wood pellet exporters in North America, and shipments to Europe can be expected to increase during 2011,' predicts the review.

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