Shallow water again troubles Rhine, Danube shipping in Germany

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Shallow water after dry weather in December continues to prevent cargo vessels from sailing fully loaded on the Rhine and Danube rivers in Germany, traders said on Monday.

All of the Rhine and Danube in Germany is too shallow for normal sailings with some barges in central Germany only able to sail 30 percent full, they said.

Loads are being divided among several vessels instead of being carried by a single craft, increasing transport costs for cargo owners.

“This is a cost problem. Cargo is still being delivered but it has to be transferred to land transport,” one German grain trader said.

Mostly dry weather is forecast in river catchment areas in Germany and Switzerland in coming days and little immediate improvement in water levels is in sight.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products including heating oil. The Danube is a major route for east European grain exports, especially maize, to western Europe.

Reporting by Michael Hogan; editing by Jason Neely