In Rotterdam, Europe’s main port for the handling, storage and production of biofuels, the throughput of these products increased in 2012 by 24% to 5.9 million tonnes compared to 2011. This can mainly be attributed to biodiesel; its import and export volumes both increased, by a total of 1.5 million tonnes. In contrast, the throughput of ethanol dropped by 17% to 1.4 million tonnes and that of ETBE dropped by 8% to 0.6 million tonnes.
From 2011 to 2012, the incoming volume of biodiesel increased from 1.2 to 2.1 million tonnes and export amounts increased from 1.2 to 1.8 million tonnes. The largest share of the incoming biodiesel, about 0.9 million tonnes of it, comes from Asia (Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia). Another substantial share comes from Argentina. Tankers from Argentina made intermediate stops in Venezuela and especially Spain until late in 2012. They discharged a great deal of their cargo there and continued on to Rotterdam with the rest. Spain reduced its import of biodiesel from Argentina, however, after Argentina nationalised YPF-Repsol. The main destinations for biodiesel were Germany, Spain and the UK.
After peaking in 2008, the throughput of ethanol dropped to 1.4 million tonnes in 2012. This was largely caused by a change in the amount discharged from the United States, which fell by more than a third. Import of E90 from the US stopped after the import tariff for E90 was adjusted. More ethanol was imported from France, however. Export increased by 100,000 tonnes, with the UK as the principal destination.
The throughput of ETBE fell slightly to 0.6 million tonnes in 2012. This is produced in Rotterdam and also imported, from Brazil, for example.