Low water levels hamper Rhine and Danube shipping in Germany

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2017 8:17 AM

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Low water levels after dry weather over 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 only able to sail 20 to 30 percent full, the traders 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.

Rain and snow in river catchment areas in southern Germany and Switzerland this week could provide some relief, traders added.

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, especially maize, to west Europe.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by David Goodman)