New wave on Rhine to boost maximum tonnage for barges

8 Jun 2021

London (Quantum Commodity Intelligence) - Depth levels on the river Rhine are forecast to rise this week, enabling oil product barges to carry more tonnage, according to brokers Tuesday.

Levels around Kaub in Germany, one of the narrowest stretches of the river, will rise from 2.57 metres Tuesday to 3.27 metres by Friday, according to shipbroker Riverlake, citing three sources for its forecast.

At Cologne in Germany, levels will rise from 3.35 metres to 4.36 metres by the end of the week.

"There is a new wave expected on the Rhine which will increase intakes up to 2,500 mt for a standard barge, at least until end of this week," Riverlake noted.

A standard oil product barge can carry 3,000 mt.

Water levels remained close to their five-year average, boosted by seasonal snowmelt in the Alps amid hot temperatures, and could rise to between 3.5 and 4 metres by mid-June, according to longer-dated forecasts.

A long and cold winter in Western Europe boosted snow levels to their highest in two years.

Subsequently, a cold and wet start of the spring season meant it failed to melt. However, from late May onwards, the advent of hotter temperatures has meant snow began to melt.

Average snow cover at high altitude stations has fallen by about one fifth in the past week, data from MeteoSwiss showed, thus feeding Swiss streams and rivers.

Stormy weather also ensured a steady amount of rain at the start of June, even if that is unlikely to last.