The persistent drought has caused the water levels in the rivers to drop sharply. Rhine, Danube and Elbe are particularly affected. This means that an important transport route – both for domestic traffic and for international shipping – is restricted.

From Rhine into the world

The Rhine is one of the most important waterways in Europe. Goods are brought to Rotterdam, for example, to be shipped from there all over the world. But the Rhine is carrying less and less water. A water level of 34 centimeters was measured in Düsseldorf. Within 24 hours it has dropped by 9 centimeters. This has far-reaching implications for the industry.

Sinking water levels cause increasing prices for transport.

With such a low water level, cargo ships can only sail with limited capacity utilisation. In Basel, the Rhine has meanwhile sunk so far that freighters can transport 70 to 75 percent less load.

Less cargo space – rising prices

Less cargo space means a huge increase in freight prices. Those who can, switch to rail or road. But there are sectors that depend on shipping. Ilja Nothnagel, member of the DIHK main management board, is therefore hoping that measures to counteract the low water level will be implemented quickly. Specifically, he calls for a quick implementation of the “Low Water Rhine” action plan, which was drafted in 2019.


Source: (German Version)