EU Shipping Hampered by Low Water on the Rhine

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By Reuters 2016-10-31 21:22:52

Cargo vessels are still being prevented from sailing fully loaded on the Rhine and Danube rivers in Germany because of low water levels after recent dry weather, traders said on Monday.

Some can only take 40 percent of their normal load volumes, the traders said, with loads having to be divided among several vessels instead of being carried by a single ship, increasing transport costs.

But cargo is still being delivered despite the low water, they added.

Scattered rain in recent days had raised water levels, but it was not enough to solve the problem.

Only moderate rainfall is forecast in river catchment areas in Germany and Switzerland up to Friday and no immediate return to normal sailings is expected in the coming days, traders said.

The Rhine -- an important shipping route for commodities such as grains, minerals, coal and oil products including heating oil -- has remained below normal levels since early September.

The Danube is a major route for east European grain exports, especially maize, to western Europe.