Low water levels in Rhine River shrink sailing capacity

Low water levels in Rhine River despite recent rainfall

Despite recent rainfall, water levels in the Rhine River, Germany remain too low in northern and central areas for containerships to voyage through at full capacity, reported Reuters.

After a dry June, the river became too shallow to accommodate for fully loaded ships at the choke point of Kaub and northern areas around Cologne and Duisburg.

Reuters reported that some vessels can only sail at half capacity in these northern regions.

Surcharges on freight rates were imposed by vessel operators to compensate for the losses incurred from vessels sailing at less than full capacity, thereby increasing costs for cargo owners.

However, rainfall over the past week saw water levels return to normal in certain areas, particularly in southern sections of the river, according to Reuters.

Additionally, more rain has been forecasted this week in river catchment areas which could help facilitate the sailing of heavier ships.

READ: Inland barge crashes into bridge on Scheldt-Rhine Canal

The Rhine River serves as a significant transportation pathway for various commodities, including grains, minerals, coal, oil products, and even heating oil.

In the summer of 2022, production problems and supply bottlenecks riddled a number of German companies after a drought and a heatwave caused severe water level droppages in the Rhine.

These conditions last summer drove up the freight rates as vessels were only permitted to sail at a staggeringly low 25 per cent of its full capacity.

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