Rhine in south Germany reopens to shipping as water levels fall

By Thomson Reuters Jun 7, 2024 | 3:41 AM

HAMBURG (Reuters) – The river Rhine in south Germany reopened to cargo shipping on Friday after being closed by high water since the weekend, navigation authorities said.

Falling water levels after dryer weather this week mean Rhine river shipping has re-started around Maxau in south Germany, the German inland waterways navigation agency said. This means sailings to Switzerland are again possible.

The river had been closed to freight shipping at Maxau over the weekend after heavy rain caused extensive flooding in south Germany.

Shipping on northern sections of the river had been operating normally this week, including at the important points of Duisburg, Cologne and Duesseldorf.

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

The high water warning centre in the south German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said it was possible that water levels at Maxau could rise sharply early next week, threatening new closures.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including minerals, coal and oil products such as heating oil, grains and animal feed. It has repeatedly suffered from low water levels because of unusually dry summers in recent years.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Jan Harvey)