Low levels in river Rhine cause logistics problems for chem firms

05 May 2011 18:03  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Petrochemical companies are suffering logistics problems because of low water levels in the river Rhine in Germany, sources said on Thursday.

According to Florian Krekel, a spokesman for river authority Wasser- und Schifffahrtsamt Bingen, water levels on the Rhine are unusually low for this time of year. Krekel added that some larger vessels are unable to carry product at their full capacity.

“Smaller boats are coping. However, larger vessels cannot be loaded to their full extent,” he said.

“I expect this to continue as we have had a very dry springtime and no significant rainfall in two months,” Krekel added.

The Rhine is an important European shipping route for chemicals and other commodities, including minerals, coal and oil products.

Some companies have confirmed they are experiencing logistical headaches trying to transport product.

Rhine water levels [are] causing some problems, barge availability is nil,” a source at a major chemicals producer said.

Another producer added that water level restrictions are making it difficult to ship product from the coast to the inland market.

The source also said derivatives producers are finding themselves unable to ship finished volumes out and propylene (C3) is starting to look long in some areas.

A third source said: “Propylene is becoming longer – people are asking me to take in [extra] propylene. We are not impacted by the Rhine levels, but others are.”

Click here to see the most up-to-date river Rhine water levels.

Additional reporting by Nel Weddle

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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