The drought is causing the water level of the River Rhine to continue to decline, a situation that worries not only France but also Germany, which fears possible economic impacts.
Roberto Spranzi, the owner of Deutsche Transport-Genossenschaft Binnenschifffahrt, a maritime cooperative, said the normal water level is “over two meters”. The official also said that, due to restrictions on the Rhine, his company has to use “three or four ships” when it would normally only need one.
The River Rhine is Europe’s most important waterway for transporting goods, including fuel and coal. The low water level worries the authorities, at a time when the energy crisis is so present, due to the war in Ukraine. Vessels can only carry around 1/3 of the usual merchandise.
Marc Schattenberg, a German economist, argued that “electricity production from gas is being reduced, so electricity production from coal must increase”. Much of the coal is delivered from the Netherlands to power stations across the Rhine.
This is a particular problem because ships can only pass through this strait with a quarter or a third of their cargo capacity.”
The situation on the Rhine is therefore particularly worrying due to the decrease in transport capacity. The River Rhine crosses six countries: France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, and the Netherlands. This situation raises the question of the economic viability of transport by sea and makes governments start thinking about viable alternatives.
Source: With Agencies