German biodiesel exports rise sharply in first half of year

By UFOP | September 05, 2019

German biodiesel exports rose sharply in the first half year of 2019 compared to 2018. The Netherlands is the primary country of destination and by far the most important trading platform in Europe.

In the first half of 2019, biodiesel exports increased significantly year-on-year by approximately 225,000 metric tons (67.5 million gallons) to 1.14 million tons (342 million gallons). This translates to approximately one third of Germany’s annual output.

The majority of exports went to other EU countries. Their share rose 30 percent from the previous year to 1 million tons. With a 59 percent increase and approximately 0.46 million tons, the Netherlands is by far the most important recipient and transit country for reshipments to other countries. Great Britain saw the largest relative increase. The country purchased 43,290 tons of biodiesel from Germany in the first half year of 2019. This was almost triple the volume bought in 2018. Belgium also raised import volumes by more than half to 136,000 tons.

The U.S., which ranked third of the top recipient countries in the quarter-on-quarter comparison until March 2019, purchased 82,000 tons and slipped to rank five in the half-year comparison. Nevertheless, the country raised its biodiesel imports from Germany by half compared to the same period last year. This translates to the third largest increase among the top 10 importing countries of German biodiesel.

According to information published by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), some recipient countries also saw considerable declines in imports. Above all, French imports of German biodiesel dropped around 22 percent to 25,000 tons in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year. Poland and Austria lowered their import volumes 10 percent to 118,000 and 88,000 tons, respectively.

From the perspective of the Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP), these figures underline the importance and competitiveness of the German oil mill and biodiesel industries. One of the reasons is that the German market easily absorbs rapeseed meal that is obtained as a byproduct in rapeseed processing. Due to the geographical situation of Germany within the EU and the receptiveness of the country’s livestock industry—especially in dairy feeding—biodiesel exports also safeguard rapeseed production in neighboring EU states. Because the German rapeseed harvest was small again this year, at approximately 2.8 million tons, UFOP is concerned that the trade channels for rapeseed imports could become firmly established. However, the association has pointed out that producer prices must increase, if German production is to safeguard supply. UFOP has reminded oil mills and biodiesel producers that the obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will increase to 6 percent in 2020. Public and political acceptance of the biofuels policy also depends on the volume domestic rapeseed production contributes to feedstock supplies, UFOP has warned.

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