|River shipping hampered as hot weather lowers Rhine, Danube
Low water levels on the Rhine and Danube in Germany mean freight vessels cannot sail fully loaded on much of the two rivers, traders said on Monday.
Water levels fell after hot and dry weather in Germany in the past two weeks, Reuters reports.
The Rhine is too shallow to allow vessels to sail with full loads on the river from Duisburg in the north to Switzerland, traders said.
At Cologne, water has fallen to some 1.95 metres against a level of 2.40 needed for vessels to sail fully loaded, one trader said.
"I think vessels at Cologne are only sailing about half full,'' the trader said. "Further south they are still able to sail 80 percent full.''
Low water means surcharges are added to freight rates, increasing costs for cargo owners.
More vessels are also required to ship the same freight volume. Some cargo owners have to pay for the full vessel even if it sails half full.
Low water is hindering shipping on the entire German section of the Danube river, traders said.
The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products including heating oil.
It is a major route for Switzerland's commodity imports.
The Danube is a major route for eastern European grain exports to western Europe.