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Low Water Hinders River Shipping in Germany

Low Water Hinders River Shipping in Germany
Water levels on the Rhine and Danube in Germany remain low as a drought and heatwave continues and freight vessels cannot sail fully loaded on the rivers, traders said on Monday.

The Rhine is too shallow for normal sailings from Duisburg to southern Germany, traders said. All of the German section of the Danube is too shallow for full loads, they said.

“Vessels are still sailing but are sometimes operating less than half full,” one vessel broker said. “Water is so shallow in southern sections of the river that some barge owners are unwilling or unable to operate.”

Shallow water means vessel operators impose surcharges on freight rates, increasing costs for cargo owners.

The German inland waterways shipping association said last week that freight was still being delivered despite the low water.

Some rain is forecast in Rhine river catchment areas in Switzerland and south Germany from Thursday which could help, the broker said.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products including heating oil. The Danube is a major route for east European grain exports to west Europe.

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