Water levels on the Rhine in Germany have fallen again with vessels often sailing only half full and prices for cargo transport rising, commodity traders and shipbrokers said on Friday.

Shallow water after dry weather continues to hinder shipping on the entire river in Germany. Freight shipping on the river continues but with vessels often carrying greatly reduced loads.

Vessels were often sailing half to a quarter full depending on their type.

Water levels at the chokepoint of Kaub near Koblenz where the river is especially shallow have fallen again and some vessels there can only sail 30% full.

The cost of transport for liquid cargoes by barge between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Karlsruhe in Germany has risen to about 78 euros ($80) a tonne on Friday from only about 20 euros a tonne in June before water levels fell, a broker said.

Navigation authorities do not close the river during low water periods, instead vessel owners must themselves decide whether they can operate safely.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, chemicals, minerals, coal and oil products, including heating oil.

German companies faced supply bottlenecks and production problems in 2018 after a drought and heatwave led to unusually low water levels on the Rhine.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News