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Thanks to the hot weather in Germany, shipping companies making use of the Rhine river are up in arms.

The hot dry weather is causing a lot of evaporation and not enough rain. The river is a very important channel that links Germany’s industrial heartlands with the country’s North Sea ports used to export products to the rest of the world. It’s a popular and important route for grains, chemicals, oil products like heating oil, minerals and coal.  

With the Rhine river being so shallow at the moment, cargo vessels are unable to travel fully loaded. The water level is allowing freight shipping to continue, but the vessels are often forced to sail with quarter full loads.

Local authorities in charge of navigation leave the decision of whether to close the river at times of low water to the vessel operators.

In 2018 a severe heatwave meant unusually low water levels on the Rhine. German companies were then faced with supply bottlenecks as well as production problems.

The hot and dry weather that’s been forecasted for the next few days is not bringing any relief to the area or the industry. News24 reports that low Rhine water will affect output over the coming month from two major German coal-fired power stations.

Image credit: Bloomberg

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