Rhine Barge Rates Soar as Chokepoint Water Level at Seasonal Low
By William Wilkes and Jack Wittels (Bloomberg) —
The cost of shipping fuel along the Rhine river has surged as dropping water levels curb barges’ carrying capacity.
The measured water level at the river’s Kaub chokepoint near Frankfurt fell to 67 centimeters (26 inches) earlier on Thursday, the lowest for the time of year since 2018. If the water gets too low, then it becomes uneconomical for many barges to transit this part of the river.
The price for shipping fuel on the river by barge has soared, with the cost of transporting between Karlsruhe — upriver of Kaub — and the Netherlands at €55 a ton, a seven-month high.
With its source high in the Swiss Alps, the Rhine snakes about 800 miles through the industrial zones of Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands before emptying into the North Sea. It serves as a key conduit for manufacturers such as BASF SE and Thyssenkrupp AG’s steel unit, as well as oil refiners.
The river at Kaub is usually at its shallowest in late fall, historical data show. Still, it’s forecast to deepen again in the coming days, with the measured water level projected to nudge above 90 centimeters on Saturday.
© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.
Weekly Insights from the Helm
Dive into a sea of information with our meticulously curated weekly “Dispatch” email. It’s more than just a newsletter; it’s your personal maritime briefing.
Be the First
Join the 104,589 members that receive our newsletter.
Have a news tip? Let us know.
Why Join gCaptain Club?
Be Informed: Stay updated with the latest maritime news and trends.
Connect: Network with a community of maritime professionals and enthusiasts.
Gain Insights: Receive exclusive content and personal perspectives from our CEO.Sign Up