Increase in throughput of biofuels

The throughput of biofuels in Rotterdam, Europe’s premier port for the storage and handling of biofuels, increased over the past year. The total throughput volume rose to 4.8 million tonnes – an increase of over 6% compared to 2015.


The strongest growth in the past year was recorded in the biodiesel (1) segment, which increased by 23% to 3.5 million tonnes. The port handled 1.1 million tonnes of ethanol (2), and Rotterdam’s ETBE (3) throughput totalled 300,000 tonnes. Rotterdam is by far the largest port in Europe for the import, export, trading and pricing of biodiesel and ethanol.

Biodiesel is the leading product category in this group. Half of the supply entering Rotterdam comes from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Biodiesel is a combination of renewable diesel and methyl esters. Another major country of origin is Spain, which accounts for close to 25% of the supplied biodiesel. The premier EU destination for biofuels is Sweden, which receives close to 19% of the outbound shipments.

The modest decrease in the throughput of ethanol may be a consequence of the continuing development of the intra-European market for ethanol, which has led to reduced imports from non-European suppliers. The ethanol that arrives from overseas mainly originates in the UK (13%), Peru and the US (both 12%), Venezuela (11%) and Sweden and Guatemala (both 10%). The main export destinations in 2016 were the UK (55%) and Sweden (18%).

(1) Biodiesel is combination of methyl esters (FAME) and hydrogenated vegetable oils (renewable diesel, often abbreviated as HVO).
(2) In this case, the ethanol category is a combination of bio-ethanol for use as an additive in petrol and conventional oil-based ethanol for the chemical industry.
(3) ETBE = ethyl tert-butyl ether. This product, which is similar to MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether), is based on ethanol rather than methanol as a key feedstock. This ethanol is produced from organic materials.


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Source: Notifications of Hazardous Cargoes

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