12 October 2009 17:01 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Water levels on the Rhine river have recovered from the lows seen last week, but depths are already falling again on some sections of the river and the situation is likely to deteriorate over the next few days, sources in the petrochemicals and barging industries said on Monday.
To reach towns such as ?xml:namespace>
Petrochemicals firms rely on the waterway to access the
“It improved a little bit, but it has already started to go down again from south
“We already had a minus number this morning in
Barges have travelled with reduced loads in recent weeks, sending freight rates soaring as chemicals firms need more barges for the same loads.
“Freight rates are around €44/tonne [from
Freight rates from
A source at a major petrochemicals firm on the southern section of the Rhine said that the situation continued to be challenging.
“The water level has slightly improved, but we expect it to get worse again. We tried to load as much as possible as soon as levels went up. And we switched as much as possible to rail tank cars,” the source said.
"Since our start-up in Chalampe from mid-September, we have been facing logistics constraints due to very low water levels in the Rhine river. This has hampered the feed of raw materials severely and decreased our production rates significantly," a company source said.
A chartering manager at a chemicals trading firm said it had taken advantage of the current respite to increase its loads.
“It rained over the weekend and we are loading a barge with 1,000 tonnes,” the chartering manager said, referring to a cargo of acetone travelling from Rotterdam to Worms.
“We confirmed it this morning with the barge company. We thought we would only load with 700-800 tonnes,” the manager added.
The barge has a total capacity of 3,000 tonnes, but was still obliged to travel two-thirds empty, despite the improvement in the water level.
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