HAMBURG (Reuters) - The river Rhine in south Germany remained closed to shipping on Wednesday after a sharp rise in water levels, a German inland navigation authority official said.
About 80 km of the river is closed to shipping from around Maxau near Karlsruhe to a point south of Mannheim, preventing sailings to and from Switzerland, he said.
Northern and central sections of the river are operating normally.
Water levels are starting to fall again in some areas and a reopening to shipping later this week or at the weekend could be possible, he said.
Repeated rain and warm weather which has melted snow have raised water levels and stopped shipping at the beginning of this week. High water means vessels do not have enough space to sail under bridges.
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. The river was also closed due to high water in early January.
Reporting by Michael Hogan; editing by Jason Neely