Wood Pellet Shortages Last Year:
Last winter season provided many difficulties for customers that rely on wood pellets for their heating systems or horse bedding. It became apparent to us that the producers of wood pellets, in particular, Balcas Brites and Verdo Renewables, took the view that it would be better for them to service their domestic contracts, rather than the commercial customer.
As a result of the above, the distributors for their wood pellets were let down without notice or support. Ourselves and many other distributors were put in a position where we were unable to service our existing customers with quality pellets, at the ‘normal’ pallet price.
Having been a stockist of Balcas Brites for the last 5 years, we were unable to receive any supply. We, therefore, had to find an alternative supplier. Given the shortage was Europe wide, we saw an increase in all suppliers pricing, and in many cases, a reduction in the wood pellet quality, often resulting in high ash and clinker in the boiler systems.
For the upcoming winter season, there are mixed views in the market as to whether this kind of shortage and price increases will happen again. We are not willing to take the risk of a repeat situation, nor are we willing to take the risk of being held to ransom on high prices from pellet producers. To continue to sell Balcas Brites, under their new pricing structure, we would need to sell these on at £330/tonne, in our opinion, this is too high compared to the previous selling price of £245/tonne.
We have had to look at a solution to safeguard the pellet service that we offer to our customers. Therefore, this summer Fitzpatrick Fuels have invested in a pellet bagging plant system. We already bag our own products including coal and smokeless fuels, so it makes sense for us to offer our own pre-packed wood pellets. We have a supply of bulk wood pellets, which we purchase in as EN+ A1 pellets, on the BSL register. These arrive to us in 1150kg bulk bags, making them unsuitable for some customers. However, the quality of these pellets in second to none and we did not experience any variation of quality during the last season.
Typically, pre-packed pellets are bagged into 10kg or 15kg plastic bags. We will be packing our pellets into 20kg bags. In comparison to 10kg bagged pellets, we will only have 50 plastic bags instead of 100 plastic bags on our pallets. Ultimately this leads to less wastage, the bags can be recycled or can be used in other ways such as gardening waste bags etc. The bag we have chosen is a high grade, strong bag. This will prevent breakage or rips on delivery and unloading. Our pallets will contain 1000kg of wood pellets as opposed to 960kg which seems to be popular in the market.
As always, we look to offer our best delivery service with a crane off option for our local area. We aim to be as competitive as the market allows us to be, and we will have our own brand bag going to print soon for our pellets. We hope this investment will help to safeguard our pellet supply, so our customers are not left short this season.
Fitzpatrick Fuels Premium Wood Pellets are available to buy on our website.