Pellet exports from Canada to Asia reach record levels

Wood pellet exports from North America rose again in the third quarter of 2014, with an increased number of shipments heading to Asia, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR).

Prior to 2014, more than 95% of wood pellets leaving North America were shipped to Europe. However, this trend changed last year when exports to Europe increased just slightly, while exports to Asia rose significantly. During Q3 2014, pellet plants located in British Columbia shipped record volumes to South Korea.

According to the NAWRF, total pellet exports from Canada were up in last year's third quarter compared to Q2, however remained 15% below the 500,000 tonne high recorded in Q4 2013.

The volume of pellets travelling from Canada to Europe dropped in the first three quarters of 2014 and, in Q3, reached their lowest level since 2011. Exports to Asia, however, have increased for six consecutive quarters.

Shipments from British Columbia are expected to remain stable throughout most of this year until the first of five new pellet mills come online towards the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016. More than 800,000 tonnes of production capacity is being developed in this province, the majority of which will be shipped to South Korea.

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