Shipping comes to a halt on parts of the Rhine
Heavy rain and the melting snow have brought the traffic on parts of the river Rhine in south Germany to a halt. According to the German inland waterways navigation agency WSA, shipping will remain closed around Maxau in the coming days as the water levels have gone up.
Citing the agency, Reuters reports that the southern sector of the Rhine around the checkpoint of Maxau was closed earlier this week, as rain continued and the snow melted. It is expected that the closure at Maxau will be over on Friday, although the water level forecasting service of the Rheinland-Pfalz state government in south Germany, said the water levels began dropping on Thursday.
The reason for the closure due to high water levels is the fact that vessels run out of space to sail under bridges. The closure also meant that no vessel could head towards Switzerland. Reuters reports that despite the rising water levels, shipping operations continued as normal in the northern sections of the Rhine which include Duisburg, Cologne and Mannheim.
In recent years, traffic on the river Rhine suffered from unusually warm summers meaning that the water levels were too low for the ships to sail. This year’s winter has brought an issue from the opposite end of the scale.
The issues have again shown the risks that the German authorities are taking in their recent push to move more project cargo on inland waterways. As the heavy transport permitting crisis continues, the authorities are looking for ways to deal with the problem.
Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck is the one pushing for the shift. In his paper called “Wind energy on land” Habeck urged the transport of wind turbine components, cable reels and other cargo required for the energy transition to shift to the inland waterways for the main leg of its journey, as soon as possible, wherever possible.