Germany’s foreign trade in biodiesel declines slightly in 2021
Updated: Mar 4, 2022
Compared to the record levels shown in the quota year 2020, Germany’s foreign trade in biodiesel declined only slightly in 2021. In both years, the export surplus was around 1 million metric tons (300.2 million gallons). According to the Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e. V. (UFOP), increases in exports were not to be expected in 2020, because the cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emission was raised from 4 percent to 6 percent that obligation year and the transfer of quotas from previous years was not possible.
The demand gap to meet the quota on GHG emission was bridged by importing approximately 1.04 million tons (approximately 353 million gallons) of hydrotreated vegetable oil, also known as renewable diesel, in 2020, according to Germany’s Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) report published in December. The UFOP has demanded that this fuel alternative, which is gaining in importance with regard to additional uses, be listed transparently in official statistics. The association has pointed out that the fuels are different and that each is covered by its own specific fuel standard. The UFOP has urged that all biofuels and in future also all synthetic fuels (e-fuels) be listed—similar to the regulation requirements governing fossil fuels.
The Netherlands remains by far the most important trading partner, although in some cases volumes declined sharply on the previous year. According to investigations conducted by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), larger volumes also came from Belgium, Poland, France and Malaysia. Whereas France delivered almost as much as a year earlier, imports from other countries dropped significantly. Imports from Malaysia virtually collapsed, nosediving 54 percent.
At the same time, Germany delivered around 846,000 tons (254 million gallons) to the Netherlands in 2021, which was 18 percent less year-on-year. Exports to Poland, the U.S., Austria and Sweden also decreased. Only Belgium—with 354,000 tons (106.3 million gallons), second of the top five recipient countries—imported 3 percent more biodiesel from Germany than the previous year.