Pellet export volumes from North America to Europe continued to rise during the 2Q/13, representing steady growth for the past seven quarters, according to data compiled by WRI and reported in the North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR).
In that period of time, volumes exported to Europe have more than doubled, from just over 500,000 tons in the 3Q/11 to over 1.1 million tons in the 2Q/13.
Most of the increase in exports over the past two years has been from the US South, while exports from the other major supply region, British Columbia, have been growing at a fairly modest rate since early 2011.
In the 2Q/13, pellet volumes exported from Canada were nearly static from the previous quarter, which was a reflection of a pellet-producing sector running at close to full operating rate and with limited investment in new capacity planned for the past few years.
The United Kingdom has emerged as the major importer of pellets exported from North America.
However, pellet shipments from North America into the UK likely peaked in the 2Q/13 for this year, as RWE’s major biomass power plant in Tilbury shut down in August 2013.
Power plants utilizing pellets in the UK are still on track to increase their volumes consumed over the next several years, but the ramp-up may not continue as smoothly as has been seen in the past two years.