Parts of the river Rhine in south Germany remain closed to shipping on Thursday following record rain last week, but water levels are falling, German authorities said.

The southern Rhine rose last week after heavy rain and floods which caused heavy loss of life in Germany’s worst natural disaster in almost six decades.

Following dry weather this week water levels on the Rhine are dropping and the river could fully return to inland shipping later on Thursday or on Friday, according to the environment agency in the south German state of Rhineland Palatinate.

Rhine river shipping remains stopped around Maxau in south Germany, the German inland waterways navigation agency said.

High water means vessels do not have enough space to sail under bridges and the blockage prevents vessels sailing to Switzerland.

But shipping in northern sectors of the river from Speyer to Duisburg is operating normally, it said.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including minerals, coal and oil products such as heating oil, grains and animal feed.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News