Join our crew and become one of the 107,051 members that receive our newsletter.

An inland vessel passes a river bed that is almost dry due to low water levels of the Waal River in Nijmegen, Netherlands August 7, 2022. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

An inland vessel passes a river bed that is almost dry due to low water levels of the Waal River in Nijmegen, Netherlands August 7, 2022. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

Rhine Barge Rates Soar as Chokepoint Water Level at Seasonal Low

Bloomberg
Total Views: 1327
October 19, 2023

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.

Tags:

Unlock Exclusive Insights Today!

Join the gCaptain Club for curated content, insider opinions, and vibrant community discussions.

Sign Up
Back to Main
polygon icon polygon icon

Why Join the gCaptain Club?

Access exclusive insights, engage in vibrant discussions, and gain perspectives from our CEO.

Sign Up
close

JOIN OUR CREW

Maritime and offshore news trusted by our 107,051 members delivered daily straight to your inbox.

gCaptain’s full coverage of the maritime shipping industry, including containerships, tankers, dry bulk, LNG, breakbulk and more.