Low water still hampers Rhine, Danube river shipping in Germany

Low water still hampers Rhine, Danube river shipping in Germany
The city center of Mainz, western Germany, with its landmark the Cathedral is seen behind the flooding waters of the river Rhine on June 2, 2013

HAMBURG - Low water levels on the Rhine and Danube in Germany mean cargo vessels cannot sail fully loaded on the German sections of both rivers, traders said on Monday.

Dry weather in recent days had caused river levels to drop further, they said. Water levels have been unusually low since early August.

The Rhine is too shallow to allow vessels to sail with full loads south of Cologne and Duisburg, traders said. The Danube is also too low for ships to sail with full loads along the entire German section of the river, they said.

Low water means vessel operators impose surcharges on freight rates, increasing costs for cargo owners. More vessels are needed to transport cargo, also increasing costs.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products such as heating oil.

The Danube is an important route for heating oil and for eastern European grain exports to western Europe.

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