Bloomberg News

Germany Plans to Shut Barge Waterway Linking Rhine to Canals

February 13, 2012

(Updates with weather data in fifth paragraph.)

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Germany will close a stretch of waterway that links the Rhine River to the country’s canal network, halting shipments between industrial sites in the country’s west to cities including Hamburg and Berlin.

The Rhine-Herne canal will shut at 10 p.m. local time because of ice, Renate Schaefer, an official at the Wasser- und Schifffahrtsverwaltung, or WSV, said today from Muenster. A second waterway linking the Rhine to the canals is already closed, she said.

The Rhine is Europe’s busiest inland waterway used to ship oil products, coal and grain. The Rhine-Herne canal runs from close to Dortmund to Duisburg, west of BP Plc’s 265,000 barrel- a-day Gelsenkirchen refinery.

Germany closed much of its canal system this month because of colder-than-usual weather. The Elbe-Seiten canal south of Hamburg is already closed, according to a website run by the WSV.

Temperatures in Berlin are forecast to fall to minus 15 Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) tomorrow, according to CustomWeather Inc. data on Bloomberg. That compares with a five- year average of minus 2 Celsius for the time of year.

--Editors: Todd White, Randall Hackley

To contact the reporter on this story: Rupert Rowling in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at

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