Long periods of low water mean big problems for inland navigation, because as water levels go down so does the load capacity of inland vessels. Conversely this means that more tonnage is required to carry the same amount of cargo. Costs go up substantially, because as well as limited capacity use of the vessels usually available, it becomes necessary to charter additional tonnage and this gets more expensive as water levels drop and the market gets tighter. To cover these additional costs, below certain water levels we need to implement so-called Low Water Surcharges.

When fixing these we have to take account of facts dictated to us by nature and by the charter market. This arrangement represents a fair basis for everyone involved in the transport of containers and enables us to transport your containers even in periods of low water. Our Low Water Surcharges take account of these experience-based values and are thus related to the actual weight of the container. Consequently, once a certain very low water level is reached charges are made per container and not per TEU.

Incidentally navigation on the Rhine does not stop altogether when water levels are extremely low – it just reaches a point where continuing to transport containers by barge is no longer economical. However, since below a certain very low water level both the navigational conditions and the situation on the charter market have to be completely re-assessed, from this level downwards we will calculate and announce the surcharges based on the newest situation. In this situation, our acceptance of a transport assignment by barge is dependent on the available capacities.

Whatever the weather, you can rely on Contargo. We bring your container safely to its destination – if necessary we can react flexibly by using other transport modes.

Water levels

25 Sep 2023

Kaub 141 +0 LWS
Köln 194 -2 LWS
Ruhrort 286 +1 LWS
Emmerich 126 +2

LWS information here

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