Falling Rhine water level hits barge traffic

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Low water levels on the Rhine in Germany are disrupting the barge operations responsible for moving thousands of tonnes of goods each day.

Hapag Lloyd is warning customers that the water level at Kaub will reach the critical operating level of 60 cm as from 18th November. Even lower water levels are expected after the weekend.

“As a result of the Rhine low water, barge operators are no longer able to guarantee barge operation. This has a direct impact on the transport of laden containers as well as on the empty container supply for barge depots in the German hinterland,” it said.

“Thus there is an extraordinary high demand for direct truck and rail transport. The capacity of these alternative means of transport is by far not sufficient to replace the normal combined water transport capacities. Due to the foreseeable shortage of containers in the German hinterland empty container pick up might be altered to the port areas.”

And Hapag Lloyd warned customers: “As this is a condition of force majeure and therefore beyond our control we are excused from our obligations under the contract to the extent of and for the duration of this situation. Any additional costs incurred with respect to the movement via alternate means of transport are for the account of the cargo.”

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