Bottlenecks persist on German waterways

Germany’s waterways still have some way to go to recover from the water shortage that has prevailed since summer. While most steel producers have got a grip on their transports, the situation for oil transports has worsened.

Thyssenkrupp and ArcelorMittal declared force majeure at their Duisburg mills about a month ago, but later gave the all-clear. Rainfalls in the region have nevertheless remained sparse, Kallanish notes.

While thyssenkrupp states that it has secured a sufficient number of Rhine vessels with lower draught that can operate at low water levels, ArcelorMittal concedes that the situation is far from ideal. “Ships can go only with reduced loads, which causes delays,” it says in a statement. “If things do not improve, we need to divert more to alternative means of transport like rail to guarantee supply safety.”

A spokeswoman for Saarland’s mills says the low Rhine level “…keeps posing challenges regarding raw materials supply as well as dispatch of products, because the number of inland vessels and their load capacities is strongly limited.” Still, supply as well as dispatch are safeguarded, “…although we have to be prepared for the situation to last.”

Last weekend the government of North Rhine Westphalia issued an exceptional driving permission for tank truck on Sundays, and tank ships were no longer able to call at the refineries around Cologne.