Freight is being delivered despite shallow water on the Rhine and other rivers in Germany due to drought, a shipping industry group said on Tuesday, although many vessels are being forced to carry lighter loads.

“On the Rhine, by far Germany’s most important inland waterway, river vessels can, depending on area, often only transport half of their normal loads, sometimes even less,” said the association of German inland waterways shipping companies BDB.

The Rhine is too shallow for normal sailings from Duisburg to south Germany, traders said on Monday. All of the German section of the Danube is too shallow for full loads, they said.

“This demands considerable extra effort by the inland waterways shipping industry,” the BDB said in a statement. “Consignments which could normally be transported with a single sailing, must for example be divided among several vessels.”

Supplies to industry are being delivered, it said.

“In dialogue with our customers the inland waterways ship operators have found solutions which means transport contracts are fulfilled,” it said.

However, vessel operators are adding price surcharges to freight contracts, it said.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products including heating oil.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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