USIPA: US wood pellet exports continue uninterrupted

By Anna Simet | March 20, 2020

In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, U.S. industrial wood pellet producers continue operations, ensuring no supply disruptions for global customers depending on their product for renewable wood heat and power production.

In a March 20 statement, USIPA, the nonprofit trade association representing all aspects of the wood pellet export industry including global production leaders such as Enviva and Drax, said that to date, its members are reporting that wood pellet production has not been impacted, and the full U.S. supply chain continues to operate without disruption.

“During these unprecedented times our thoughts are with all of those affected, as well as those around the world working to contain the COVID-19 virus,” said Seth Ginther, USIPA executive director.

“With new details emerging daily on the spread of COVID-19, our industry is focused on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our work force, the local communities where we operate, and business continuity and reliability of supply for our customers globally.”

At the federal level, Ginther said, the U.S. government issued guidance and identified the energy, timber and wood products industries, among others, as essential critical infrastructure. “In addition, a number of states in the U.S. have implemented their own emergency measures. Initial action from state governments indicates that wood pellets are considered a strategic asset for COVID-19 response in the delivery of power and heat generation.

“We understand that the situation is evolving rapidly on a global scale and are working closely with U.S. federal and state agencies, as well as our members and partners around the world to ensure U.S. wood pellets continue to provide reliable power and heat during this challenging time," Ginther concluded.

In 2019, the U.S. exported just under 6.9 million metric tons of wood pellets to overseas customers in more than a dozen countries, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The U.K. was the leading importer, distantly followed by Belgium-Luxembourg and Denmark.