The river is the lifeblood for German industry but falling water levels mean ships cannot travel, putting serious pressure on industry.
Fears water levels in Rhine could fall below critical mark
Water levels on the Rhine river could reach a critically low point in coming days, making the transport of goods along the river — including coal and gasoline — increasingly difficult, German authorities say.
Weeks of dry weather have turned several of Europe’s major waterways into trickles, posing a headache for German factories and power plants that rely on deliveries by ship.
“This is particularly the case for the Rhine, whose nautical bottleneck at Kaub has very low water levels but which remains navigable for ships with small drafts,” said Tim Alexandrin, a spokesman for Germany’s Transport Ministry.
Authorities predict that water levels at Kaub will dip below the crucial 40cm mark early Friday and keep falling over the weekend. While this is still higher than the record low of 27 m seen in October 2018, many large ships could struggle to safely pass the river at that spot, located roughly mid-way along the Rhine between Koblenz and Mainz.