Low water levels cut Danube freight capacity

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Wikimedia Commons / Csanád

Low water levels on the Danube have reduced freight capacity on the stretch of the river that runs through Hungary by two-thirds. High temperatures in August and drought have severely lowered the Danube water level, now at 93 centimeters in Budapest.

Historically, the lowest level of the Danube in Budapest was measured in 2003, at 51 centimeters, state news wire MTI recalled.

Attila Bencsik, president of the Association of Hungarian Inland Waterway Carriers (MBFSz), told MTI that shipping companies are either waiting with their freight for higher water, racking up losses each day, or loading goods onto smaller vessels or lorries. On some stretches of the Danube, for example in Germany, ships cannot even navigate the river after unloading, he added.

Gábor Spányik, managing director of passenger shipping company Mahart PassNave, said that the low water levels have made navigation of some stretches of the Danube north of the capital impossible. Cruise ships with drafts over 16 decimeters cannot travel any further downriver than Komárom (at the border with Slovakia in northwest Hungary), he added.

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