LOW Rhine water levels are hindering inland shipping in Germany, with inland shipping playing a vital role in the nation for energy sources such as coal and natural gas, reports Xinhua.
"The low water level of the Rhine and many other rivers is currently affecting freight transport on inland waterways and makes it more difficult to maintain supply chains," said the Federal Statistical Office.
During the record drought in late 2018, freight transport volumes on German inland waterways fell over a third.
Germany's economy is sensitive to disruptions on the Rhine, the country's biggest river and busiest waterway in Europe.
Although the water level at the shallow Kaub monitoring station has risen, the total industrial output would decline one per cent should it fall below the critical mark of 78 centimeters for 30 days.
To secure sufficient energy supplies under these circumstances, Germany recently prioritised rail transport of energy-related shipments over passenger transport.
"Even passenger trains can only run if our power grid and power supply are stable," said Transport Minister Volker Wissing.
Said BDI managing director Holger Loesch: "Politicians, the economy, and society must prepare themselves for the fact that such dry periods will no longer be just exceptions in the future, but the rule."
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