Rhine barge rates rise as chokepoint water level at seasonal low

The cost of shipping along the River Rhine has increased because declining water levels have reduced barges’ carrying capacity.

The measured water level at the river’s Kaub chokepoint near Frankfurt fell to 67cm late last week, the lowest for the time of year since 2018.

The cost of shipping fuel on the river by barge between Karlsruhe and the Netherlands was €55 a ton, a seven-month high. The river at Kaub is usually at its shallowest in late autumn. It was forecast to deepen again in the coming days, with the measured water level projected to move above 90cm on the weekend.