Canadian Biomass Magazine

Pinnacle breaks wood pellet shipping world record

July 27, 2020
By Pinnacle Renewable Energy

Photo courtesy Henry Zea, Fibreco

The world record for the quantity of wood pellets carried in a single vessel has been broken. Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. loaded 64,527 tonnes on board the MG Kronos, destined for the UK. The panamax vessel, chartered by Cargill and planned with assistance from Thor E. Brandrud of Simpson Spence Young, was loaded at Fibreco Export Inc. on July 18, 2020. The previous record of 63,907 tonnes was held by Drax Biomass on the Zheng Zhi, loaded in Baton Rouge in March this year.

“We are really happy to get that record back!” said Vaughan Bassett, senior vice-president of Pinnacle. “It took a combination of various factors lining up to make this a reality. We needed all the product available in the terminal, a high capacity vessel, competent stevedoring and the correct draft conditions in the Panama Canal.”

This continuing trend towards larger cargo sizes helps lower the GHG footprint per tonne of product transported off the west coast. “It is a positive step in the right direction,” commented Bassett, “and one that is appreciated by our customers, not only for the environmental improvement, but also for the cost benefit of discharging larger cargoes per port call.”

Fibreco president Megan Owen-Evans said, “Any time we are able to help our customers achieve a record of this magnitude, it’s something our team takes great pride in. Fibreco is in the final stages of significant terminal upgrades which will enable us to continue to grow our business while more efficiently servicing our customers. We are delighted to have been able to share in this accomplishment with Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. and congratulate them on their success.”


The receiver, Drax PLC, will consume these wood pellets at their power station in Yorkshire in the UK. This plant produces about 12 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity, of which most is fuelled by wood pellets.

Gordon Murray, executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada, said, “Pinnacle’s accomplishment is especially gratifying given that these Canadian wood pellets will be used to generate sustainable, renewable, low-carbon electricity in the United Kingdom, helping that country with its climate mitigation efforts and keeping their electrical grid operating safely and securely.”

Carsten Huljus, CEO of the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP), commented, “We are pleased to see that this is also the single largest SBP Certified cargo yet assembled on one vessel.”

Pinnacle’s CEO, Rob McCurdy, remarked that he was proud of Pinnacle’s commitment to reducing the GHG footprint of their wood pellets. “Every part of every initiative helps,” he said, “especially when the incremental improvement is exponentially more difficult to achieve. That’s when we know we are doing everything we can and it makes me proud.”

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