The River Rennes On the verge of becoming nearly impassable at a major trading point in Germanywhere shallow waters choke shipments of energy products and other industrial goods along one of the country’s most important waterways. Europe.
tag in Kaupe, West Frankfurt, is expected to drop on August 12 to a critical depth of 40 centimeters, according to the German Federal Administration of Waterways and Shipping. At this level, it is impossible for most barges carrying goods from diesel to coal to cross. So far, the result is still expected to drop to 37 cm the next day.
Europe Faces worst energy crisis through decades Russia curbs natural gas flows And increases tensions in the region by its invasion of Ukraine. This has driven up prices and prompted companies to use more oil and coal instead. The energy crisis has spread to the wider economy, driving up production costs and threatening to push some of the continent’s largest economies into recession.
While some shallow-water barges will still be able to sail the Rhine in Kaube, the falling water level shows how the climate crisis is exacerbating the region’s energy problems. Record energy prices in Germany rose to a new record on Wednesday. Europe’s natural gas and coal futures also advanced.
Used by ships to transport essential goods, the Rhine meanders some 1,300 kilometers from its high source in the Swiss Alps through some of Europe’s most important industrial regions before emptying into the North Sea near Rotterdam. Companies, including chemical giant BASF SE and steelmaker Thyssenkrupp AG, depend on the river to supply major factories with fuel and raw materials.
a mix of Ice flow and rain It feeds the river, but Glacier contributions decreased In recent years as summer melt has outpaced winter ice formation due to climate change. According to the Swiss Federal Weather Service, below-average snowfall last winter and continued erosion of glaciers mean the waterway is particularly likely to drop to crisis levels.
When the mark at Kaub reaches 40 centimeters or less, a representative from Germany’s Federal Institute of Hydrology said, it becomes uneconomic for most boats to sail farther. This effectively stops most shipments from flowing beyond that point.
The measured water level is not the actual depth of the river, but rather a navigational sign. Shipments have already been disrupted for weeks, with limited water limiting the amount of ships they can carry. fees Transporting some fuel to Basel, Switzerland It is now €267 ($276) a ton, compared to €25 a tonne in early June, according to data from global insights.
An official with Germany’s state waterways agency said by phone on Wednesday that boats were still passing through the main bottleneck on the Kaup River. The sandals are expected to continue operating until the Kaub Index drops about 20 cm from current levels.
Low levels could become a nuisance for BASF and energy companies such as EnBW AG and Uniper SE, the latter of which recently received a bailout. 17 billion US dollars from the government German to prevent the collapse of its own power grid. While companies will still be able to supply factories and power stations by road or rail, these modes of transportation are much more expensive, leading to shrinking profit margins.
Downstream, Thyssenkrupp keeps a close eye on water levels in Duisburg, near Cologne. The river is currently 173 cm deep, with 150 cm being the level that makes transporting materials such as coke and iron ore by barge uneconomical.
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