A drop in 2020 biodiesel imports to the European Union (EU) from Malaysia and Indonesia followed a sharp decline in imports from Argentina the previous year, Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) reported from Eurostat/AMI data.

In the calendar year 2020, the EU imported a total of 3.1M tonnes of biodiesel from non-EU countries – a 16% year-on-year drop and down 13% compared to 2018, according to the report.

Argentina accounted for almost half of EU biodiesel imports (1.65M tonnes) two years ago but its share had dropped to just less than one third (895,000 tonnes) in 2020, the report said. This meant that the country had only utilised 74% of the duty-free import quota of 1.2M tonnes agreed with the EU in January 2019.

There had been an even sharper dip in shipments from Indonesia at 138,000 tonnes – a drop of 83% compared to 2019.

Indonesia accounted for just over one-fifth of all imports in 2019 its share had dropped to only 4% in 2020.

At 476,000 tonnes, biodiesel shipments from Malaysia had fallen approximately 43%.

The decrease in imports from Indonesia and Malaysia had been partially offset by imports from other third countries, mainly China, the report said.

China delivered more biodiesel in 2020 than Indonesia and Malaysia combined, according to the data.

Almost half the biodiesel imports to the EU had been made through the Netherlands, the report said, with one third going directly to Spain and 15% to Belgium.

The lower demand for imports was due to the decline in biodiesel consumption which had fallen from 12.5M tonnes in 2019 to 11.4M tonnes in 2020, according to the UFOP.

Meanwhile, the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) increased from 2.6M tonnes to 3.6M tonnes.