Business Briefs

By Pellet Mill Magazine | September 27, 2019

EIA releases monthly densified fuel report
The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 790,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in May, with sales reaching 620,000 tons.

The data was released as part of the August edition of the EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data for April. The EIA collected data from 84 operating manufacturers with a collective production capacity of 11.88 million tons per year and the equivalent of 2,219 full-time employees. Inventories of premium/standard wood pellets increased to 185,326 tons in May, up from 121,127 tons in April. Inventories of utility pellets also increased, from 334,837 tons in April to 418,265 tons in May.
Andritz appoints new CFO
Andritz AG CFO Mark von Laer will leave the company at the end of 2019. The supervisory board has appointed Norbert Nettesheim as his successor, effective Dec. 1.

Nettesheim has a degree in business administration from the University of Cologne. He has extensive experience in project business and spent the greater part of his career in managerial positions with increasing responsibility at the Voith Group, including the position of commercial director in various group companies, most recently head of group controlling, accounting and investments at Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA.

CPM announces CEO transition
CPM Holdings Inc. has announced a transition in executive leadership. Ted Waitman, CPM president and CEO, retired July 1 after more than 40 years with the company. Jeff Drees, who previously served as president and officer for Herff Jones, has been named CPM’s new CEO.

Waitman joined CPM in 1978. Before taking the helm as CEO, he served in a variety of roles, including manufacturing engineer, plant manager, worldwide manufacturing manager and general manager. This background in sales, engineering, manufacturing and general management allowed Waitman to transition CPM from a pellet mill equipment company to the aligned process and systems company it is today.

Drees was chosen after a rigorous selection process, and his demonstrated leadership success at multiple organizations set him apart. Prior to Herff Jones, he served as president and officer of Flowserve's industrial product division, where he drove growth and business investment. He spent 12 years at Schneider Electric, working his way up to president of the U.S. organization. Additionally, Drees has experience at Caterpillar Inc. and Honeywell Inc., and served six years in the U.S. Air Force.
To assist with the transition, Waitman will continue serving CPM in an advisory capacity through December 2020.

Enviva to develop new deep-water terminal, make plant modifications 
In August, Enviva Holdings LP announced plans to build and operate a deep-water marine terminal at the Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi, as the company has exercised an option with the Jackson County Port Authority to lease property in the Bayou Casotte Harbor.

The Pascagoula terminal will be designed to handle approximately 3 million metric tons of wood pellets annually. It will be capable of receiving product by rail, barge and truck with 90,000 metric tons of on-site storage capacity, and will support Panamax-sized vessels. The facility will utilize state-of-the-art handling equipment and storage infrastructure designed to maintain product quality and safety.

The company plans to invest more than $60 million in the Pascagoula terminal, which is expected to be complete during the second half of 2020.

Enviva also issued a statement expressing appreciation to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for hosting a community meeting in advance of a public hearing scheduled for September to share information with local residents about Enviva’s request to voluntarily increase air quality controls at its Southampton facility in Franklin, Virginia.

In consultation with the Virginia DEQ, Enviva has requested modifications to the air permit for the Southampton plant that will allow the company to install additional air emission control equipment, increase the permitted production volume and increase the permitted percentage of softwood.

US pellet exports reach 450,000 tons in July
The U.S. exported 451,299.1 tons of wood pellets in July, according to data published in early September by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Exports were down when compared to the 694,515.3 tons exported in June and 476,634.8 tons in July 2018.

The U.S. exported wood pellets to approximately 18 countries in July. The U.K. was the top destination with 421,599.4 tons, followed by the French West Indies with 21,814.4 tons, Canada with 3,692.9 tons, Italy with 1,641.5 tons, and the Netherlands with 1,628.2 tons. The value of wood pellet exports reached $58.54 million in July, down from $88.139 million in June and $66.03 million in July. For the first seven months of the year, the U.S. exported 3.62 million tons of wood pellets at a value of $496.04 million, compared to 3.17 million tons at a value of $432.56 million for the same period of 2018.