River Rhine in south Germany still closed to shipping

HAMBURG (Reuters) - The Rhine in southern Germany remained closed to shipping on Thursday after a sharp rise in water levels and the river is likely to stay closed into the weekend, German authorities said.

High water means vessels to not have enough space to pass under bridges.

The river is closed to shipping from around Maxau near Karlsruhe to a point near Koblenz, preventing trips to and from Switzerland, the river flood monitoring agency said.

Vessels are still able to navigate northern and central sections of the river but have to reduce speed, it said.

Water levels are falling again in the southern Rhine. But high water is moving north and could remain at levels preventing shipping into Saturday, the agency forecast.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including oil products such as heating oil, grains, animal feed and coal. It is an important route for Swiss commodity imports.

It was also closed due to high water in early January.

Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by David Evans