Rhine in south Germany still closed to shipping but waters falling

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Parts of the river Rhine in south Germany stayed closed to shipping on Wednesday despite receding water levels in the wake of recent torrential rains, authorities said, while flagging prospects for traffic to be freed up soon.

The southern Rhine rose last week after record rainfall and floods that caused heavy loss of life in Germany’s worst natural disaster in almost six decades.

Following this week’s dry weather, water levels are dropping and the river could fully re-open to inland shipping later on Wednesday or Thursday, the environment agency in the state of Rhineland Palatinate said.

Rhine river shipping remains halted around Maxau and Speyer in the south, the German inland waterways navigation agency said.

High water means vessels cannot clear bridges. The blockage prevents vessels sailing to Switzerland.

But shipping in northern sectors of the river, from Mannheim to Duisburg, is operating normally, the agency said.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities such as minerals, coal, heating oil, grains and animal feed. 

Photo: A damaged car is seen after the flooding of the Ahr River, in Altenahr, Germany. EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL