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Rhine River Levels Already Low Enough to Restrict Trade


The Rhine river in Germany is already seeing water levels low enough to restrict trade ahead of the typically lowest point in the August-November period.

  • The level at the key chokepoint at Kaub was 1.43m on Friday afternoon according to government data and is forecast to fall another 16cm by early Tuesday morning.
  • Barges carrying diesel-type fuel past Kaub have been limited to loading just 60% of their maximum carrying capacity according to Mitchell van der Hoeven at Riverlake.
  • The cost of transporting between Karlsruhe in southwest Germany and the Netherlands is currently close to double the five-year average.
  • Rainfall in the last week of June could stop the downward trend with “critical flow conditions” not expected until at least the end of July according to the German Federal Institute of Hydrology.
  • The river, which is used to transport millions of tons of oil products to upriver importers, reached a low level point of about 30cm last August resulting in widespread disruption including to oil refining and power generation.

Source: Bloomberg

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