July 27, 2018 / 8:22 AM / 25 days ago

Low water hinders Rhine, Danube river shipping in Germany

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Water levels on the Rhine and Danube in Germany remain low as a drought and heatwave continues and freight vessels cannot sail fully loaded on the rivers, traders said on Friday.

The Rhine is too shallow for normal sailings from Duisburg to south Germany, traders said. All of the German section of the Danube is too shallow for full loads, they said.

Shallow water means vessel operators impose surcharges on freight rates, increasing costs for cargo owners.

Several vessels are also needed to transport consignments usually transported by one craft, increasing costs for cargo owners.

No immediate improvement is expected as mainly dry weather is forecast in coming days in river catchment areas in south Germany and Switzerland, a trader said.

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 Edmund Blair

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