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Low water again threatens to sink industries along the Rhine

Low water again threatens to sink industries along the Rhine
Insa Wrede 21.07.2022

At normal water levels, one ship can carry the cargo of about 150 trucks
Water levels in Europe's most important river have dropped amid searing temperatures, bringing back memories of the 2018 drought that shut down the waterway. Are businesses better prepared now?

Water levels in the Rhine River are just inches away from forcing another shutdown of ship transportation

As Europe bakes in a heatwave, water levels in its rivers are falling to precariously low levels. Germany's Rhine is no exception, with the current water level of the most vital waterway in Europe being described as "unusually low for the season" by Christian Hellbach from the Waterway and Shipping Authority in Cologne, Germany.

"Normally, the low water days for the Rhine begin in July and reach their peak in September and October," he told DW.

Okke Hamann, chief executive of the Lower Rhine Chamber for Industry and Commerce, also said that the low water had come rather early this year, as levels have not yet reached over 2 meters (78.7 inches) at the gauge in Duisburg, which is Europe's biggest inland port. "The low level means barges need to reduce their cargo load to be able to navigate the river," he told DW.

And Roberto Spranzi from the DTG German Inland Navigation Association also expressed concern about the emerging situation along the Rhine, telling DW that the professional shippers the organization represents were currently allowed to transport "just about 50% of the cargo" they usually carried.

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