Rhine-Alpine News

    Dry spring – low water?

Symbolic photo (Martin Brandt): Low water level at Kaub

Koblenz: „At the moment, the water volume of the Rhine is 40 % below typical seasonal figures”, Jörg Uwe Belz of the Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde in Koblenz confirms a recent article of “Süddeutsche Zeitung” to this newsletter. Winter and spring were unusually dry. While this for now is not a problem, it may result in a summer with very low water levels. Shipping lines already ask for some “low level surcharge”. However, future rainfalls may still avert any problems for summer.

Read the article here (external link, German language), and find an interpretation of the figures below.

„Kaub only 92 cm?“ – How to read Rhine water levels

First of all: No, the present water level at Kaub is somewhat higher – about 140 cm. But Kaub, located between Mainz and Koblenz on the Middle Rhine, is often singled out by the media to point out record low water levels. Such sensational figures ignore that the “point 0” does not indicate the river bottom, but simply the lower end of the scale. In each case, one must add some individual figure to calculate the depth of the navigable channel. For Kaub, this officially is 112 cm, resulting in a present water depth of about 2.5 meters at the most shallow point of the passage.

In most places around the scale, the river is even quite a bit deeper. However, given the irregular and rocky shape of the riverbed, diligent navigators are not interested in typical or average depths. This is why official calculations are always set up to indicate the lowest figure along a passage.

Antwerp: Structural improvement in container barge transport

Photo (Port of Antwerp): Container terminal operation

Antwerp: Availability of slots for inland barges has long been an issue at sea port terminals. In Antwerp, the BTS (Barge Traffic System) now informs barge operators proactively about the availability of the terminals. This enables the barge operators to spread out their berth requests and adjust their schedules.

For some time now, Antwerp Terminal Services (ATS) has coordinated the barge scheduling of PSA Antwerp, DP World and MPET. Consolidating small volumes has made it possible to increase the call size of the barges at the maritime terminals. The process significantly reduces the number of calls at the terminals and contributes towards more efficient scheduling.

Read the whole story (external link).