German biodiesel exports remain above average
Germany’s foreign trade in biodiesel is poised to decline in 2021. In the first half year, exports already plummeted 18 percent and imports as much as 43 percent. The supply and demand balance shows an export surplus of 503,460 metric tons (more than 151 million gallons), which is up 31 percent year-on-year. Whereas exports exceeded the long-term average of 923,200 tons (277 million gallons), imports dropped below the average level of 559,000 tons (nearly 168 million gallons).
According to figures published by the German Federal Statistical Office, Germany exported around 933,117 tons (280 million gallons) of biodiesel in the first half of 2021 while importing only 429,657 tons (129 million gallons). The Netherlands, the main EU marketplace for trading biodiesel, continued to be the primary trading partner, accounting for 42 percent and 36 percent of total exports and imports respectively. However, imports decreased significantly by 60 percent. According to investigations conducted by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), larger import volumes also came from Belgium, Malaysia and Poland, although they were smaller than in the year-earlier period. Imports were dominated by supply from other EU countries (84 percent). Malaysia was the most important non-EU supplier country, once more ranking third, but only providing just less than 65,000 tons (19.5 million gallons) of biodiesel.
The main recipient countries of German biodiesel also were EU countries (88 percent), headed by the Netherlands, Poland and Belgium. The most important non-EU country was the United States. The country took fourth place in the first half of 2021, although imports dropped 30 percent year-on-year to just below 71,000 tons (more than 21 million gallons).
The UFOP has pointed out that these statistics take into account exclusively biodiesel. They do not include paraffinic fuels such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). In light of today’s EU consumption level of approximately 3.6 million tons (more than 1 billion gallons) and the growing importance of such fuels in the future for meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets in all member states, the UFOP has underlined the urgent need to adapt official statistics—both at the domestic and the European level. More specifically, HVO should be listed separately.
The UFOP has explained that the fact that HVO is produced to a separate fuel specification and traded separately from biodiesel is an argument in favor of collecting HVO consumption data separately.
The association has pointed out that HVO can be blended in fossil diesel fuel at a rate of up to 26 percent, which compares to a maximum rate of 7 percent in the case of biodiesel. The promotion of synthetic fuels (e-fuels) as initiated by the German federal and state governments and the approvals vehicle manufacturers have given for pure fuel consuming operating mode are additional reasons for collecting statistics on paraffinic fuels separately. The UFOP has indicated that the volumes of HVO consumed in Germany will not be listed until the Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (BLE – the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food) publishes its Evaluation and Progress Report at the end of the year.