Shipping in Rhine stifled following heavy rainfall

Cochem town aerial panoramic view in Moselle valley, Germany

Sections of the River Rhine in southern Germany suspended cargo shipping earlier this week following raised water levels induced by heavy rainfall, according to navigation authorities.

Reuters reported that shipping through the river was restricted around Maxau and Mannheim in southern Germany.

Raised water levels mean that vessels had insufficient overhead space to voyage under bridges, which thereby restricts ships sailing to Switzerland. In recent years, however, the cause of shipping suspensions in the Rhine had been repeated incidences of low water levels as a result of unprecedented dry summers.

Restrictions across this vital maritime gateway are expected to have a significant impact on important commodities including minerals, coal and oil products, such as grains and animal feed.

Nevertheless, shipping remains viable across northern sections of the river, which includes the vital points of Duisburg and Cologne, reported Reuters.

READ: Panama Canal raises vessel draft to 45 feet

According to the high water warning centre located in the South German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, water levels are anticipated to fall to operational levels. However, forecasts indicate that Maxau will hold off from reopening to shipping until 7 June.

Last summer, water levels in the Rhine River were too low in northern and central areas for containerships to voyage through at full capacity.

The extent of the drop in water levels meant that companies had to adapt to reduced shipping throughout the summer of 2023, costing companies financially.

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