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 year of 2019, biodiesel exports increased significantly year-on-year by approximately 0.225 million tonnes to 1.14 million tonnes. This translates to approximately one third of Germany’s annual output. Their share rose 30 per cent from the previous year to 1 million tonnes. With a 59 per cent increase and approximately 0.46 million tonnes, 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 tonnes 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 tonnes. The US, which ranked third of the top recipient countries in the quarter-on-quarter comparison until March 2019, purchased 82,000 tonnes 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 ten 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 per cent to 25,000 tonnes in the first half year of 2019 compared to the same period 2018. Poland and Austria lowered their import volumes 10 per cent to 118,000 and 88,000 tonnes 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 by-product 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 neighbouring EU states. Because the German rapeseed harvest was small again this year, at approximately 2.8 million tonnes, 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 per cent 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.
Source: UFOP, press release, 2019-09.