Problems caused by low water levels on the Rhine River have gone from bad to worse for German chemical companies.
BASF says it has closed its toluene diisocyanate facility in Ludwigshafen, Germany—several hundred kilometers up the Rhine from the North Sea—because record low water levels are preventing barges from delivering enough raw material. BASF says it had to shut the polyurethane chemical plant despite transferring as many shipments as it can from the river to pipeline, trucks, and rail. Restarting the plant will depend on improved water levels, BASF says, adding that it has no plans to shut any other plants.
The low water is affecting many German chemical companies dotting the Rhine as well as firms further upriver in Switzerland. Rather than recover from low flow during a dry summer, river levels have continued to drop...Uh, wow.