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EU-27 biodiesel imports slump 2020 in part due to shift to HVO – UFOP

Following a sharp decline in biodiesel imports from Argentina to the EU-27 in 2019, a major slump has been recorded in deliveries from Malaysia and Indonesia for 2020. In the calendar year 2020, the EU-27 imported a total of 3.1 million tonnes of biodiesel from non-EU countries, down around 16 percent year-on-year and down 13 percent compared to 2018. In part, the decline reflects a shift to renewable diesel (HVO) according to Union zur Förderung von Oel und Proteinpflanzen e.V. (UFOP).

Following a sharp decline in biodiesel imports from Argentina to the EU-27 in 2019, a major slump has been recorded in deliveries from Malaysia and Indonesia for 2020. In part, the decline reflects a shift to renewable diesel (HVO) according to Union zur Förderung von Oel und Proteinpflanzen e.V. (graphic courtesy UFOP).

Whereas Argentina accounted for almost half of EU biodiesel imports two years ago (1.65 million tonnes), its share dropped to just less than one-third (895 000 tonnes) in 2020. In other words, the country only utilized 74 percent of the duty-free import quota of 1.2 million tonnes agreed with the EU in January 2019.

Shipments from Indonesia plummeted even more sharply in 2020. They amounted to 138 000 tonnes, which translates to an 83 percent slump compared to 2019. Whereas in 2019 the country accounted for just over one-fifth of all imports, its share dropped to only 4 percent in 2020.

Biodiesel shipments from Malaysia also dwindled. At 476 000 tonnes, they fell approximately 43 percent compared to 2019. The decrease in imports from Indonesia and Malaysia was partially offset by imports from other third countries, above all China. The country delivered more biodiesel in 2020 than Indonesia and Malaysia put together.

The Netherlands EU’s biodiesel trading hub

Nearly half the biodiesel imports were made through the Netherlands as the trading hub. Around one-third of biodiesel imports went directly to Spain and 15 percent to Belgium.

According to the Union zur Förderung von Oel und Proteinpflanzen e.V. (UFOP), the lower demand for biodiesel imports is due to the decline in biodiesel consumption which fell from 12.5 million tonnes in 2019 to 11.4 million tonnes in 2020.

At the same time, the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) rose from 2.6 million tonnes to 3.6 million tonnes.

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