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Rhine water levels may hit record low this week – forecaster


19 Nov 2018 11:21


19 Nov 2018 11:21

(Montel) Water levels on the Rhine – Germany’s most important shipping route for coal – may drop back to their record lows seen in October, said forecaster Energy Weather on Monday.

“We don’t see any real passages of rain until the week starting 26 November and possibly also not thereafter,” Robin Girmes, meteorologist at Energy Weather, told Montel.

“This is why the water level should decline further this week and fall back to its record low seen in October,” he added.

Latest government data showed the water level at Kaub – a key point for inland shipping on the Rhine – stood at 33 centimetres – after falling to 44cm on Friday, well below the average of 226cm.

19th century lows
On 22 October, the level dropped to 25cm, the lowest since records began in 1880, according to the data.

With the start of the cold – and dry – winter season, the outlook for rain in the relevant areas had declined, Girmes said.

This meant a recovery was “excluded for November” and relatively unlikely for December, he added.

While there was some rain forecast for Saturday this week and the middle of next, it would take “five of those days in a row” to make the Rhine fully shippable again, he said.

Low water levels on the Rhine have hampered coal transportation from the receiving terminals in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp area, leading to low coal stocks at Germany’s power plants, increasing the risk of a supply squeeze this winter, analysts told Montel last week.

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