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Low Water Level Causes Problems in Grain Transportation

Transportation much more expensive

Danube River bed in Calarasi, Romania, on December 11, 2011Eastern European grain traders have had to switch to more expensive means of transportation as exports via the Danube River are blocked because of low water levels. Traders have had to export by road and to a lesser extent by railway, despite the cost per unit being significantly higher and eroding margins. For grains from south-west Romania, Serbia or Hungary, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said truck transportation costs are EUR 28 (USD 36.35) a metric ton to EUR 35 a ton, compared with the railway costs of EUR 23 a ton to EUR 25 a ton, and barge shipping costs of EUR 10 a ton to EUR 15 a ton.

Water Level should improve in February 2012

Traders hope that transportation on the Danube will improve in February when river levels are expected to allow shipping to resume. The summer heat wave and autumn's extreme drought have caused difficulties for river transportation from September onwards, with the Danube's water level reaching its lowest level for 25 years in the last week of November.