German industry is facing a slowdown in river freight traffic due to low water levels in the Rhine, Reuters writes on Friday, August 5. “From the middle of July the water level in the Rhine was so lowwhich had a noticeable impact on freight transport,” Nils Jannsen, an expert at the Kiel Institute for World Economics (IfW), quotes the agency.

Typically, industrial production drops by about one percent when the water level in the Rhine stays below a critical level for a month, the agency writes. “In 2018, when navigation on the Rhine was last hampered by low water for a long period of time, industrial production fell by about 1.5 percent at its peak,” Jannsen recalls, noting that inland navigation is a relatively important means of transportation of energy resources for Germany.

ifW expert: A ship can sometimes only be loaded by a third

Due to the hot summer, the water level in the Rhine dropped especially low. In some parts of the river, the depth is 56 centimeters. At the same time, ships need about one and a half meters to move with a full load, writes Reuters. “We continue (transportation. – Ed.), but we can only load the ship by 25-35 percent of its carrying capacity. This means that customers often require three ships to carry their cargo, rather than one,” Roberto Spranzi, director of the shipping cooperative DTG, was quoted as saying.

Spot prices for chartering a tanker for transportation from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Karlsruhe as of August 5 rose to about 94 euros per ton – against 20 euros in June this year. According to Reuters, the demand for river freight has increased due to the fact that Germany intends to increase power generation from coal in order to prepare for a reduction in gas supplies from Russia.

See also: