Rhine Barges Cut Freight Amid Low Water Levels | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 17.03.2004
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Rhine Barges Cut Freight Amid Low Water Levels

Barges on the Rhine River, Europe's busiest commercial waterway, are carrying smaller loads in order to reduce weight as water levels have dropped to their lowest since January, according to Bloomberg News. Barges that can carry 2,000 tons are now loading two-thirds that amount to reduce their draft and avoid running aground. Not enough rain fell in central Europe this winter to replenish the river after it fell to its lowest in nearly 60 years last summer, following three months of heat waves and drought. "We've hardly seen any rain this winter, and with river levels already low going into winter, the situation has become more tense," Peter Kulsen, a consultant at freight tracking firm PJK International BV told Bloomberg. "We're hoping ice on the mountains will melt soon and river levels will recover, but at the moment, it's just not happening."