The summer of 2018 looks set to overtake 1976 as the driest one on record in the country, with almost no rain for two months and currently not expected until well into August, Reuters reported.

Water in important rivers such as the Rhine and Ijssel, which depend on rain and snow, has fallen below critical levels, severely limiting cargo traffic, as ships can only take half to a third of their normal loads to keep them afloat.

This could lead to shortage in goods, such as building materials, cattle feed and barley and hop for beer brewers, according to Joost Sitskoorn of Evofenedex, the Dutch association for logistical companies, as quoted by Reuters.

A lot more ships are needed to meet demand. Overcapacity helped counter this problem for a while, but the supply is starting to dry up.

As informed, over half of the freight transported by ships is bulk, such as iron ore, sand, gravel and cement, which are impossible to shift to the road for transport, as it takes some 30 trucks to replace only one small cargo ship.

Transport costs have already risen by 30%, Mr. Van Baaren added, while the demand for the limited amount of ships available is rapidly driving up prices.

Last week, Amsterdam closed two important shipping routes through its canals, as a result from drought. This caught several shippers off guard, as they were suddenly cut off from their customers.