Improved Forecasting and Risk Management for the Water Transport Sector

Inland waterway transport along free-flowing rivers such as the river Rhine is susceptible to hydrological phenomena such as droughts or high discharge events, affecting safety and efficiency. Low stream flows and low water levels limit the maximum cargo-carrying capacity of vessels and increase their energy consumption and their travel time.

The 2018 low flow situation in many European Rivers, including the Rhine and the Danube, has demonstrated the wide-ranging impacts of floods on the sector, from pressure and reduced vessel loading to a week-long gridlock. Showing the severity of this drought, a record-low water level was registered at Kaub gauge, a water transport bottleneck in the Middle Rhine.

The extreme low-flow situation had a particularly severe impact on waterway managers but also hit shipping and logistics companies and economic sectors that rely on waterway transport, such as industrial enterprises or power plants. As a result, waterway users and managers faced many a challenge in adapting their operational management procedures accordingly.

Find the complete factsheet here.

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