Report: Canadian wood pellet exports up 5% in 2022

By Erin Voegele | January 17, 2023

Canadian wood pellet production for 2022 remained stable with the previous year, according to a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network. Exports were up an estimated 5 percent due to increased demand from Europe and Asia.

Canada produced an estimated 3.5 million metric tons of wood pellets last year, flat with 2021, but up from 3.3 million metric tons in 2020. The country currently has 47 pellet production facilities, flat with 2021 but up from 46 in 2020. Total nameplate production capacity was at 4.79 million metric tons in 2022, down from 5.054 million metric tons in 2021 and 4.856 million metric tons in 2020. Capacity use was estimated at 73.1 percent for 2022, up from 69.3 percent in 2021 and 68 percent in 2020.

Approximately 45 percent of Canadian pellet mill production capacity is located in British Columbia, with 21 percent in Quebec, 17 percent in Alberta, 8 percent in New Brunswick, 7 percent in Ontario, and 4 percent located in the rest of Canada.

Canada primarily produces wood pellets for sale into export markets. Domestic consumption was at 530,000 metric tons last year, up from 500,000 metric tons in 2021 and 430,000 metric tons in 2020.

Canadian pellet producers exported an estimated 3.3 million metric tons of wood pellets in 2022, up from 3.153 million metric tons in 2021 and 2.901 million metric tons in 2020. In 2021, the top destinations for Canadian wood pellet exports were the U.K., Japan and South Korea at 1.26 million metric tons, 1.09 million metric tons, and 253,887 metric tons, respectively. Approximately 195,002 metric tons were exported to the U.S.  

Imports were at 20,000 metric tons last year, down from 29,000 metric tons in both 2020 and 2021.Virtually all the wood pellets imported into Canada in 2019, 2020 and 2021 came from the U.S.

A full copy of the report is available on the USDA FAS GAIN website