The low water levels that troubled the German steel industry in the summers of 2018 and 2019 are not expected to re-occur this year.
“The level at Duisburg’s Ruhrort port is at present still regular for the season,” Kallanish is told by German steel federation WV Stahl. From the current point of view, “…extremely low levels in the coming weeks are unlikely,” a WV Stahl spokesman says. But he does not exclude this in the months ahead, “…if precipitation remains low.”
In fact, no industry has so far reported transport bottlenecks on waterways. However, rain has been sparse for months and agricultural federations in North Rhine Westphalia have already warned of damages to the harvest.
Last year, some problems did occur along the Rhine, Ruhr and Saar Rivers, but the impact was nowhere near as dramatic as in the summer of 2018. That year prompted industries and politicians to come up with an “Inland Waterway Transport Masterplan,” which was revealed by the Ministry of Transport in May 2019.
That plan was welcomed by WV Stahl president Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff. He noted then that “…the exceptional low water in 2018 has shown to what degree the industry depends on the waterways.” According to WV Stahl, one fifth of German steel transport is carried out on the domestic waterways.