keel The low water on the Rhine does not only have a direct impact on inland navigation. Economic experts warn that industrial production may also suffer.
According to the president of the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping, this year ships will be able to navigate the Rhine continuously, despite persistent drought. Hans-Heinrich Witte told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that he did not expect ship traffic to stop on the river. “Theoretically it’s possible, but I don’t think it’s likely.”
However, when the water level is low, ships can carry much less cargo. “This means: cargo space on ships is limited,” said the head of the office. It also makes it difficult to transport coal and oil on the Rhine. “Then a lot has to be done by road and rail.”
Low water level affects economic results
According to the economist, prof. Stefan Kooths of the Kiel Institute for World Economy, the economic consequences of the low Rhine water level are severe. “Calculations of the consequences of the low Rhine water level in 2018 show that industrial production drops by about 1 percent if the water level at the Kaub measurement point has dropped below the critical level of 78 centimeters over a period of 30 days,” he explained. Kooty.
At its peak, industrial production fell by about 1.5 percent in 2018, Kooths continued. Over the course of a year, low water levels are likely to cost about 0.4 percent of economic efficiency. “However, the situation at that time cannot be transferred from one to one to the present day” – explained the scientist. The “fall increase” of German industrial production was then much greater.
However, the negative effects of supply bottlenecks are much worse for the industry: “Until recently, due to supply bottlenecks, industrial production was down 7%. below the level that would be expected considering incoming orders, ”said the vice president and economic director of the Kiel Institute.
“At the moment, however, it is worsening that low water obstacles are affecting already very tight supply chains.” Inland navigation is also an important means of transporting energy resources. However, based on the experience of 2018, companies should be better prepared for emergencies in inland navigation, e.g. by using other types of ships.
Low water levels can affect transport chains
However, any additional stress factor weakens economic dynamics. And each additional hurdle to production raises prices as the mismatch between supply and demand widens. “From an inflation standpoint, it’s not just about the consequences of rising transportation costs,” explained Kooths.
According to the information, only a small part of goods transported in Germany is transported by inland waterway: in 2017 it was 6%. However, in the case of individual groups of goods, such as coal, crude oil and natural gas, coke products and mineral oils, and chemical products, inland shipping accounted for 10 to 30 percent. transport volume. “These goods are at the beginning of many production chains, so failure to transport them can lead to production bottlenecks downstream.”
A shock to the small sector – inland shipping’s share of gross value added in Germany is below 0.2%. – could have a significant impact on other sectors.
The level in Kaub a little over 40 centimeters
The level at Kaub in Rhineland-Palatinate, which is important for navigation on the Rhine, dropped further on Friday. According to the administration of shipping and shipping, in the morning it was 42 centimeters, which is about 5 centimeters lower than at the same time of the previous day. According to the office’s forecasts, the 40-cm mark may drop on Friday.
Crucial to navigation on Thursday was just 1.59 meters – less than on any other stretch of the middle and lower Rhine. Therefore, Kaub in the district of Rhein-Lahn is considered an important inland navigation point on the Rhine.
The Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) recently announced that shallow inland vessels can still sail across the middle Rhine to a water level of approximately 30 to 35 centimeters on the Kaub gauge. However, forecasts assume water levels towards 30 centimeters by the beginning of next week at the Kaub level. Then Rhine navigation in this area “has a tendency to stop.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220812-99-359903 / 6