Shallow water still hinders Rhine and Danube shipping in Germany

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 23, 2017 5:14 AM

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Shallow water after dry weather in the past month is again preventing cargo vessels from sailing fully loaded on the Rhine and Danube rivers in Germany, traders said on Monday.

All of the Rhine and Danube in Germany are too shallow for normal sailings, with some barges in central Germany only able to sail 20 to 30 percent full, they said.

Loads are being divided among several vessels instead of being carried by a single craft, increasing transport costs for cargo owners. Freight is also being transferred to road transport.

Traders said that low water is a cost problem and that cargo is still being delivered.

Mostly dry weather is forecast this week in river catchment areas in Germany and Switzerland means immediate improvements are unlikely, traders said.

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

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Louise Heavens)