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Poland has succeeded in its journey to join the ranks of modern, market-based economies over the past 25 years. With a population of close to 40 million and GDP at purchasing power parity of around US$800 billion, Poland now ranks sixth in Europe in terms of population and economic prowess.

Still, per capita income remains below the EU average. Other problems include an inefficient commercial court system, rigid labour legislation and a heavy tax system.

A look at Poland’s oils and fats sector shows that rapeseed oil is the frontrunner in the production and consumption of vegetable oils. According to Oil World, the country produced nearly one million tonnes of rapeseed oil in 2014 and consumed around 738,000 tonnes of this. That year too, palm oil at 214,500 tonnes, replaced lard for the first time as the second-highest consumed product (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Poland – Oils and Fats Consumption (thousand tonnes)

poland-oils-and-fats-consumption

Sources: Oil World Annual 2013, 2014 & 2015

In 2014, palm oil was the primary vegetable oil imported, accounting for almost 32% of Poland’s oils and fats import volume. Much of this originated via the EU-28, mainly Germany and the Netherlands. Malaysia has been able since 2010 to increase its participation slightly (Figure 2). 

Figure 2: Poland – Palm Oil Imports (thousand tonnes)

poland-palm-oil-imports

Sources: Oil World Annual 2013, 2014 & 2015

Imports of palm-based products grew about tenfold between 2012 and 2014 (Figure 3) – it doubled for palm oil; more than quadrupled for palm kernel oil; and skyrocketed for ‘Other Products’ from 101 tonnes in 2012 to an astounding 77,115 tonnes in 2014. Compared to 2013, this was an increase of more than 213%.

Figure 3: Poland – Malaysian Palm Oil Imports by Product, 2012-2014 (tonnes)

malaysian-palmoil-imports-2014

Source: MPOB

While palm oil imports into the EU-28 grew at a rate of 22% from 2009 to 2013, they rose no less than 77% in the case of Poland. A range of positive factors speaks for greater trade engagement between Malaysia and Poland, considered one of the most robust economies in central Europe.

Poland has managed to sail through the Euro crisis relatively unscathed. Its good infrastructure makes it a preferred place for international trade, in particular via the large and modern port of Gdansk on the Baltic Sea. Strategically located in the heart of Europe, the port lends itself as a gateway for palm oil imports – both to eastern and central Europe, and to the EU.

 

Uthaya Kumar

Regional Manager, MPOC Europe

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