Imsge:A cargo vessel sails on the river Rhine in front of the Muenster church in Basel August 28, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
HAMBURG (Reuters) – Cargo vessels still cannot sail fully loaded on the Rhine and Danube rivers in Germany as water levels remain low, traders said on Tuesday.
Water levels have been low since early August following unusually dry weather in river catchment areas.
The Rhine is too shallow to allow vessels to sail with full loads for its entire length south of Cologne and Duisburg, traders said.
The Danube is also too low for ships to sail with full loads along the entire German section of the river, they said.
The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products such as heating oil.
The Danube is an important route for heating oil and for east European grain exports to west Europe.
Low water means vessel operators impose surcharges on freight rates, increasing costs for cargo owners. More vessels are needed to transport cargo, also increasing costs.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan; editing by Jason Neely)
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