Low water levels after recent dry weather are preventing cargo vessels from sailing fully loaded on the Rhine river in Germany with surcharges added to the usual freight rates, commodity traders said on Thursday.
Low water is hampering shipping on most of the river south of Duisburg and Cologne, including the chokepoint of Kaub, traders said.
Some vessels can only transit Kaub about 50% full, depending on ship type, they said.
Shallow water means vessel operators impose surcharges on freight rates to compensate for vessels not sailing fully loaded, increasing costs for cargo owners.
Dry weather in July meant the river became too shallow, hindering shipping before rain raised water levels.
No immediate improvement is expected with dry weather forecast in river catchment areas in coming days, traders said.
The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities such as grains, minerals, ores, coal and oil products, including heating oil. German companies faced supply bottlenecks and production problems in summer 2022 after a drought and heat wave led to unusually low water levels on the Rhine.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan; editing by Mark Potter)
Photograph:Cargo ships maneuver near the the banks of Rhine River on Nov. 09, 2018 near Kaub in Germany. A summer heat wave in Germany as well unfavorable wind conditions, and no rain left the Rhine River – which begins in the Swiss Alps, runs through Germany, and empties into the North Sea – at record low water levels. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
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