Last year was a tough one for Maine’s paper mills, but when you look at Maine’s top 10 exports by industry, paper was still Number 1, while forest products and wood products also are among the state’s top 11 exports, with a combined value of $736,783,355 – 27 percent of Maine’s total exports in 2015.
Total U.S. exports of forest and wood products topped $33.7 billion last year.
Those numbers come from the Maine International Trade Center (MITC), whose staff produced a report for MFPC that provides a wealth of information about exports, including exactly what goes where, but here are a few of the highlights.
Canada continues to be the top destination for Maine forest products exports, topping the list for exports for Paper and Paperboard, and Wood and Articles of Wood, and is second to China for Wood Pulp Etc. Canada also is the top destination for all Maine exports and receives more than six times the amount of Maine goods than Malaysia and China, which are second and third on the list, respectively. Malaysia experienced significant growth in the value of Maine exports it received between 2014 and 2015 when the total value of exports grew 97.74 percent.
If you look at Maine exports simply by commodity (not industry), Number 1 is crustaceans – lobster, shrimp, etc. But there are also five categories of forest products on the top commodities list.
Another group of interesting statistics concern exports for fuel wood, including pellets. The mild winter and low energy prices have lower demand in the local pellet market and beyond.
“There’s instability in global pellet markets and some not-so-healthy trends are appearing,” Stephen Faehner, chairman of the Pellet Fuels Institute and CEO of American Wood Fibers recently told Biomass Magazine. “Also, the strong U.S. dollar limits exports and helps Canadian producers export more to the U.S. But if we can keep promotion of this business moving forward, and consistent policy, it’s a good solution for renewable energies. I’m optimistic about this year but not overjoyed.”
On the other hand, the global biomass pellet market was recently valued at $6.9 billion in 2014 and it is expected to grow with a CAGR of 11.1% during the 2015-2020 period, according to a study recently published by P&S Market Research. In 2014, North America accounted for the second largest share in the global biomass pellet market, in terms of value and volume.
Europe accounted for the largest share of the global biomass pellet market with 18.14 billion tons consumed in 2014. The major reasons behind growth of the market in the region were increasing demand of biomass pellets in the industrial sector, strict environmental regulations, and increasing concern for global warming.