Executive Director of GIMNI Sahat Sinaga said there are a number of factors supporting the growth of downstream palm oil industry including a cut in the import tax on biodiesel by the European Union, active trade diplomacy launched by the government, retaliation by the U.S. government again a number of countries including China, Mexico, and the European Union (EU) and the dollar appreciation .
"These factors have brought in fresh air for palm oil trade in global market," Sahat said a gathering between the media people the Association of Downstream Palm Oil Industries grouped in the Federation of Vegetable Oil Industries (GIMNI), Indonesian Association of Biofuel Producers (APROBI), Indonesian Association of Oleochemical Producers (APOLIN).
Meanwhile, General Chairman of APOLIN Rapolo Hutabarat, predicted that the country`s oleochemical exports would grow 22 percent to 4.4 million tons, from 3.6 million tons last year.
Increase in oleochemical exports followed growing global consumption of oleochemicals for the cosmetics industry, tire industry and oil drilling industry and other manufacturing industries.
Export grew with the new investment by oleochemical producers like PT Energi Sejahtera Mas and Unilever, he said.
In 2017, the country`s exports of oleochemicals were valued at US$3.3 billion in 2017.
This year, exports are expected to rise to US$3.6 billion. In the first quarter of this year oleochemical exports totaled 1.1 million tons valued at US$915 million.
Sahat said cooking oil will no longer sold in bulk, adding, the process of transition from bulk to bottling is expected to be wrapped up in 2019.
"In 2020, there is no more cooking oil sold in bulk," he said.
In 2018, domestic consumption of cooking oil is predicted to reach 12.759 million tons , up from 11.056 million tons in 2017.
Most of palm-oil consumption in the country is for food -- 8.414 million tons for food and specialty fats; 845,000 tons for oleochemical and soap noodle, and 3.5 million tons for biodiesel.
Paulus Tjakrawan, the chairman of APROBI, said biodiesel consumption in the country this year is predicted to rise 500,000 tons.
The prediction would be a reality if the use of non subsidized biodiesel is as expected including in the use of biodiesel in mixture with diesel oil to fuel locomotives and mining heavy equipment.
"If B-20 is used for railways, domestic consumption of biodiesel could increase by 200,000 to 500,000 kiloliters," Paulus said.
B-20 (a mixture of biodiesel 20 percent in diesel oil) has been used to fuel the locomotive of the train of the state-owned railway company (PT KAI) serving the Palembang-Lampung track .
Head of the unit of Locomotive Depot of Tanjung Enim Batu Nurdin said there was no problem in the locomotive of the railway after using B20 fuel in the operation in the last three months.
There was no difference in the performance of the engine when using B20 from when it used 100 percent diesel oil, Nurdin told reporters and a monitoring team from the Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Ministry .
He said based on the checking of the locomotive, there should be no problem using B20 fuel in the operation of the Palembang unit of PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI).
Based on the CO emission test, B20 is more environmentally friendly than pure diesel oil.
With this encouraging development , B20 could be permanently used for the locomotives of PT KAI, he said, adding, Indonesia would be the first to use B20 fuel for locomotives.
Paulus also said the decision of WTO which favored Indonesia against the EU anti dumping policy is great victory for Indonesian palm oil industry.
In addition the European Commissioner has sent a signal that it would not back up the palm oil resolution of the European Parliament, prompting a number of Indonesian biodiesel producers to start studying exports of that commodity to Europe after exports had to stop in the past several years.
"It is predicted that Indonesia`s biodiesel exports to Europe would reach 500,000 kiloliters this year," he said.
The country has also exported biodiesel to other countries but small in volume, he added. (AS/A014)
(T.SYS/A/H-ASG/A014) 03-06-2018 18:58:30