As Reuters reports, traders have informed that from Duisburg and Cologne to south Germany, the Rhine is far too shallow to allow normal sailings.

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This means that ship operators impose surcharges on freight rates for cargo owners.

The Rhine is considered a vital shipping route for commodities like grains, minerals, coal and fuel products including heating oil.

German companies had experienced supply bottlenecks and production problems in 2018, as a drought and heatwave resulted in unusually low water levels on the Rhine.

Nonetheless, more rain is expected in river catchment areas in southern Germany later this week, a development that could raise water levels.