Literally low flows

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Low water levels on the Mississippi River are threatening to disrupt commerce for a second consecutive year… Water levels in St. Louis and Memphis are 10 to 20 feet lower at this point in the year than in 2020 and 2019 due to lack of rain.” (More and more)

Bloomberg reports on Rhine river reductions, “After brutal heat waves scorched southern Europe, the river at Kaub, a key waypoint west of Frankfurt, has hit levels this summer that mean some ships could carry only about half of normal capacity. While recent rains have eased the strain, even small changes can have a major impact. A drop of 10 centimeters (four inches) means about 100 fewer tons can be transported per ship…”

S&P Global explains Panama Canal restrictions, “As the dry season has continued to wreak havoc on the water levels at Gatun Lake, canal wait times have increased sharply amid draft restrictions and a reduced number of transit allotments. The most recent draft restrictions, announced June 22, put the maximum authorized draft for the Neopanamax locks at 44 feet and 39.5 feet for the Panamax locks. Under normal conditions, with no draft restrictions, the maximum draft authorized for the Neopanamax locks is up to 50 feet and up to 39.5 feet for the Panamax locks.” See picture below.

The Yangtze has recovered from last year’s drought. Ohio river water levels are near long-time averages. In some places the Danube’s water level is double last August. The Rhine’s flow is better this week than last week. But shipping disruptions caused by drought have spiked in recent years.

Gatun Lake (Panama) shows drought impacts: more from Wall Street Journal