Solvent supply not affected by low Rhine water levels – BASF

25 November 2011 10:55  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Low water levels on the river Rhine in Germany will not affect supplies of BASF solvents from its plants at Ludwigshafen, a source said on Friday.

BASF material for November had already been shipped by river before water levels fell below passable depths for shipping, and December volumes will primarily be transported by trucks.

“We usually transfer product to Rotterdam. Our timing was good, we had sent some material via barges before the Rhine water levels became low,” the source said.

The German chemicals firm is expecting demand in December to be slow, and the lower volumes for the month will mostly be transported by road, as is usual for this time of the year.

“In December, nobody wants to put bigger volumes on stock because it is year end, so the main business is the truck business. You don’t have bigger volumes to send out in barges,” the source said.

Last Sunday, the Rhine was expected to close  for river traffic upstream from Kaub, about 160km miles downstream of Ludwigshafen, as water levels fell to 62cm in the Rhineland-Palatinate. The minimum safe level for barges is said to be 60cm.

Even before then, barges were being run as low as quarter capacity in order to avoid grounding in water that is almost two metres under average levels.

At Duisburg, a key German inland Rhine port in northwest Germany, water levels have been reported at just under two metres, their lowest November levels in more than 100 years.

Another concern is that the low water levels are exposing shipping to unexploded Second World War munitions on the bed of the river.

For more on BASF visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Cuckoo James
+44 (0) 208 652 3214

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