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German steel mills increase cargo frequency due to low water levels

German steelmakers Thyssenkrupp and Stahl-Holding Saar, the parent company of Dillinger and Saarstahl, have increased their shipments to secure raw material supplies due to critically low water levels on waterways caused by the heatwave in western Germany, the companies told S&P Global Platts.

“Because the barges can only load about half of the usual tonnages, more barges than normal are required to meet the demand,” said a spokeswoman for Stahl-Holding Saar.
The mills usually receive iron ore and coking coal from the port of Rotterdam, which is then shipped on waterways down the Rhine.

Dillinger and Saarstahl are based in Saarland state, southwest Germany, where levels are lower than further north in the Rhine-Ruhr region where Thyssenkrupp is based.

“We had to increase the frequency of cargoes. What we lose on freight space, we need to compensate,” a spokesman for Thyssenkrupp said, adding that the steelmaker is using additional logistics suppliers.

Thyssenkrupp also uses water from the Rhine to cool its Dusiburg works.

The water level stood at 2,06 m Friday morning at Duisburg, according to the German Waterways & Shipping Office. The office also said there has to be at least 30 centimetre clearance under the keel, meaning barges have to be lighter than usual at the moment.

Thyssenkrupp said waterways around the Rotterdam region would not be heavily affected but the further south, the lower the water levels.

According to a notice published over the week, the German Federal Institute for Hydrology expects low water levels to continue next week.

Source: Platts

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