Water levels on the Rhine and Danube in Germany rose on Wednesday, helped by rain and thawed snow. There is now a prospect of a return to normal shipping on the two rivers by the end of this week, Reuters reports. The Rhine and Danube have been too shallow for normal sailings since late November, restricting the load levels on most barges and increasing transport costs for cargo owners. The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products such as heating oil. The Danube is a major route for east European grain exports, especially maize, to western Europe.