Shippers prepare for worst as Rhine levels near critical low

Aug 12, 2022, 7:01 PM | Updated: Aug 13, 2022, 7:05 am
A container ships passes Pfalzgrafenstein castle in the middle of the river Rhine in Kaub, Germany,...

A container ships passes Pfalzgrafenstein castle in the middle of the river Rhine in Kaub, Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The Rhine carries low water after a long drought period. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

(AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Shipping companies prepared to halt the transport of goods on the Rhine as water levels in Germany’s biggest river neared a critically low point Saturday.

An ongoing drought affecting much of Europe has lowered rivers such as the Rhine, preventing large ships with heavy loads from passing key waypoints and forcing them to use smaller vessels or to split cargoes into multiple shipments.

At one bottleneck, near the town of Kaub on the Middle Rhine, an official gauge measured the water level at 37 centimeters (14.6 inches) on Saturday afternoon. Big, heavy ships can’t pass if the level falls below 40 centimeters (15.7 inches).

While the depth of the shipping lane in Kaub was still about 150 centimeters (59 inches), experts say passage becomes tricky even for light or specially adapted cargo ships if water levels fall below 35 centimeters (14 inches) at the gauge mark. A reading below 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) is considered unpassable.

Shipping authorities predict that point could be reached early next week, though it is unclear whether water levels will reach the record low of 25 centimeters measured at the Kaub gauge in October 2018.

Logistics company Contargo said Friday that it was preparing to halt shipping on the Upper and Middle Rhine for safety reasons and planned to shift some of its cargo onto trucks.

Road and rail freight capacity is limited, however.

Companies along the Rhine that rely on ships to receive raw materials and deliver finished goods are expected to face delays and shortages. Coal-fired power plants and gas stations could also see supply shortages, if shipping on the Rhine is halted.

Meteorologists forecast rain in the coming days, though it was unclear whether it would be enough to keep water levels on the Rhine from dropping to a point that affects shipping.

In Italy, authorities allowed more water from Lake Garda to flow out to parched local rivers like the Po that farmers use to irrigate crops. Combined with Italy’s worst drought in decades, the country’s largest lake is nearing its lowest-ever recorded water level.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of climate issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - This undated file photo posted on Twitter on June 18, 2020, by Venezuela's Foreign Minister ...
Associated Press

Venezuela releases 7 jailed Americans; US frees 2 prisoners

WASHINGTON (AP) — Venezuela on Saturday freed seven Americans imprisoned in the South American country in exchange for the release of two nephews of President Nicholas Maduro’s wife who had been jailed for years by the United States on drug smuggling convictions, a senior U.S. official said. The swap of the Americans, including five oil […]
1 day ago
People walk toward the border crossing between Georgia and Russia at Verkhny Lars, as they leave Ch...
Associated Press

Fewer Russians cross border to flee despite military call-up

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Fewer Russians have crossed into neighbouring countries in recent days, according to local authorities, despite persistent anxiety over the partial mobilization the Kremlin launched less than two weeks ago to bolster its forces fighting in Ukraine. The mass exodus of Russian men — alone or with their families or friends — […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Catalans commemorate 5th anniversary of failed breakaway

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Thousands of Catalans gathered in Barcelona on Saturday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of an independence referendum that marked the high point of their movement to break away from the rest of Spain. The 2017 vote, which was declared unconstitutional by Spain’s top courts, was marred by clashes with police who […]
1 day ago
This photo provided by Administrative office of Pennsylvania Courts shows Max Baer, the chief justi...
Associated Press

Max Baer, Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s chief justice, dies

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Max Baer, the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, has died only months before he was set to retire, the court confirmed Saturday. He was 74. Baer died overnight at his home near Pittsburgh, the court said in a news release. The court didn’t give a reason for his death but […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Poland adds pregnancy to patients’ medical data

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A new regulation that came into force in Poland Saturday requiring pregnancy information to be uploaded to the national digital system has raised concerns among women’s organizations that it could be another means for the conservative government to control women’s lives. Women’s groups suggest the Health Ministry regulation would enable authorities […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Czechia’s ruling coalition wins election in Senate

PRAGUE (AP) — A senior government party in the Czech Republic linked to conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala has won an election for a third of the seats in Parliament’s upper house, with the ruling coalition parties retaining a dominant position in the Senate. With all the votes counted Saturday by the Statistics Office, the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Shippers prepare for worst as Rhine levels near critical low