Water rises on Rhine, shipping loads back to normal

Heavy rains in the past week in Germany have meant that water levels on the Rhine have risen sharply, returning to normal levels and enabling cargo ships to sail fully loaded, vessel brokers and commodity traders said.

While weeks of high temperatures and little rainfall in August had reduced water levels to near record lows, the reference water levels in the final sections of the river suffering from shallow water have now returned to normal, including around Cologne and Duisburg, brokers said.

At one time in August some freight vessels could carry only about 25% of normal loads.

The reference water level at the major chokepoint of Kaub, which fell to 32cm in August, had returned to 2.51 metres, well above the 1.5 metres vessels need to sail fully loaded.