Rhine river partially closed in Germany to shipping by floodwaters

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Parts of the river Rhine in south Germany remained closed to shipping on Monday after a rise in water levels following recent torrential rain, German authorities said.

The southern Rhine rose last week after record rainfall and floods which have killed at least 157 people, Germany’s worst natural disaster in almost six decades.

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

The high water levels makes passing under bridges impossible and prevents vessels sailing to Switzerland.

However, dry weather over the weekend and on Monday morning has led to falling water levels, allowing shipping in the northern sectors of the river from Mannheim to Duisburg to operate normally, the agency said.

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

Southern sections of the river are not expected to open until later this week, the environment agency in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said. 

Photo: A man photographs a car damaged by floods in Schoenau am Koenigssee, Germany. EPA-EFE/LUKAS BARTH-TUTTAS