HAMBURG, April 18 (Reuters) - Water levels on the Rhine and Danube in Germany remain low despite recent rain and freight vessels cannot sail fully loaded on the German sections of the rivers, traders said on Tuesday.
The Rhine is too shallow for normal sailings south of Duisburg and Cologne to Switzerland, traders said.
Weekend rain had helped raise both rivers but water levels remain well below minimum levels for full loadings. The rivers have been shallow since the first week of April.
Shallow water means vessel operators impose surcharges on freight rates, increasing costs for cargo owners.
Rain and snow in river catchment areas in south Germany and Switzerland this week could help raise water levels, they said.
Low water had also hindered shipping on both rivers between late November 2016 and February this year.
The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products including heating oil.
The Danube is a major route for east European grain exports to west Europe. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Mark Potter)