31 May 2023, 13:18
Benjamin Wehrmann

BASF deploys new freight vessel on Rhine River to cope with lower water levels

Die Welt

Chemicals producer BASF is deploying a new freight vessel adapted for low water levels in the Rhine river, newspaper Die Welt reported. Shallower water in Germany’s largest river have occurred frequently in recent years and are linked to low precipitation caused by climate change. Freight transport on waterways has been severely affected, forcing companies to switch to railway or road transport. Many chemical companies such as BASF, whose headquarters are in Ludwigshafen in southwestern Germany, and other industrial producers have constructed production facilities on the Rhine and other major rivers because these usually offer more convenient transport conditions than other locations. The adapted vessel named Stolt Ludwigshafen, has a length of 135 metres and a width of 30 metres. The ship’s size, its shape and the light construction materials are supposed to let it cope even with “extremely low” water levels without affecting its manoeuvrability. “The new flagship represents a key component of our climate resilience measures and secures a stable supply of our customers and production facilities,” BASF’s European compound president Uwe Liebelt, told the newspaper.

Repeated droughts and other extreme weather events in Germany and many other parts of Europe have raised awareness of the need to adapt to the effects of climate change, in addition to efforts to mitigate it. In addition to the damaging effects of droughts on ecosystems and agriculture, low water levels and high temperatures in Europe’s rivers have become a challenge for energy production, which often relies on river for cooling power plants, and other economic activities, especially inland navigation.

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