Wood pellet imports to South Korea and Japan close to record highs

19 July 2017


Wood pellet imports to Asia reached an all-time high in Q4, 2016 when Japan and South Korea together imported 630,000 tons of pellets. Although import volumes were down slightly in Q1, 2017, they were still over 40% higher than in Q1, 2016, reports Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).

South Korea is by far the main destination for pellets in Asia, and in 2016 the country was the world’s third largest importer of pellets, trailing only the UK and Denmark. Although import volumes to Japan have tripled from 2014 to 2016, the usage of pellets is still relatively low.

Consumption of pellets in Japan and South Korea has increased quite rapidly the past four ears because of new government requirements which favour reducing carbon emissions and increasing the usage of renewable energy.

With an urgent need to replace nuclear energy and generous feed-in-tariffs, it is expected that Japan will increase importation of wood pellets quite substantially over the next five years.

Vietnam has been the major supplier of pellets to the Asian market for the past three years, accounting for almost two-thirds of the shipments to Japan and South Korea in 2016.