15 November 2005
EarthFirst Americas Incorporated (EFA), a subsidiary of EarthFirst Technologies Incorporated, announced the arrival of the first shipment of palm oil-based biodiesel at the Port of Tampa, FL. The shipment, which arrived on November 8, 2005, contains 878 metric tons (267,790 gallons) of biodiesel. EFA plans to import regular shipments that are expected to grow to monthly loads of 3,000,000 gallons by the end of the first quarter of 2006.
The biodiesel is imported from Ecuador, in cooperation with La Fabril of Manta, a large manufacturer of palm and soy based oils. The imported biodiesel is eligible for incentives under the US JOBS bill, which provides a $1 tax credit per each gallon of vegetable oil or animal fat based biodiesel blended with petrodiesel.
In collaboration with La Fabril, EFA has arranged for follow-on monthly shipments of biodiesel to commence in January 2006. EFA expects to arrange importation of up to 45 million gallons during 2006, and over 100 million gallons of biodiesel in 2007. These planned import figures are significant compared to the US domestic biodiesel production, which is estimated at 30 million gallons in 2005, and 80 million gallons in 2006.
The American Soybean Association (ASA), a trade group representing US soy producers, reacted angrily over the arrival of the shipment. The ASA called on the Congress to establish protectionist measures to block imported biodiesel from competing with the domestic soy-based product. The ASA demanded that palm oil biodiesel be excluded from the JOBS tax incentives, and/or that an offsetting import duty equal to the JOBS tax incentive be imposed.