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Europe’s Most Important River Dangerously Low as Summer Starts

  • Key Rhine bottleneck lowest in early June for over 20 years
  • Fears raised of a repeat of 2018 Rhine river logistics crisis
The Cologne Cathedral stands along the Rhine river in Cologne.
The Cologne Cathedral stands along the Rhine river in Cologne.Photographer: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

Germany’s Rhine River is entering dry summer months with water levels at their lowest in two decades, prompting fears of shipping disruption on Europe’s most important inland waterway.

After spring showers failed to show in Germany, the official water level at Kaub — a key chokepoint near Frankfurt — dropped to around 1 meter on June 3, its lowest for the time of year in at least two decades, according to Germany’s WSV inland waterway agency.