Drought hits river transport

Barge on River Rhine at Basel (c) Raimond Spekking

The drought could mean the suspension of a major communication route for Switzerland.

The Rhine River flows from the port at Rotterdam to Basel and everyday thousands of tonnes of goods are transported on barges along the river. 10% of all Swiss imports arrive in the country on a barge. 

Already the falling water levels means barges can’t be loaded to their normal capacity. There are worries if the rainfall this month ends up being the same as July – then the river could be closed to barge traffic. 

It’s not just the dry summer that’s led to this problem – it’s been brewing for months as poor snow falls last winter also meant there was less melt water in the spring. 

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