Rhine water level rises, still too shallow for normal shipping

HAMBURG (Reuters) – Water levels on the Rhine in Germany have risen after recent rain but remain too shallow for cargo vessels to sail fully loaded throughout the river, traders said on Friday.

The river had fallen below normal levels in recent weeks after dry weather.

Repeated rain this week has raised water levels but the Rhine is still too shallow for normal sailings, especially around Cologne, traders said.

Shallow water means vessel operators impose surcharges on freight rates, increasing costs for cargo owners.

More rain is forecast up to Monday which could help bring improvements.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, 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.

Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Jason Neely

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