Adjustment of the Low Water Surcharge (LWS) on the European canals

Posted by Richard Strauss

Dear Sir, dear Madam,
Over the past ten years we have increasingly included larger vessels in our fleet, in order to keep
transport prices down for our customers. However, this is only effective when water levels are normal.
When there is low water, the capacity of larger models is reduced relatively drastically, meaning that we
have to purchase additional capacities. This presents a parallel to sea transport: seagoing vessels are
also getting progressively larger in order to work more cost-effectively, and this leads to problems in the
seaports, for instance in Hamburg.
Long periods of low water cause big problems for inland navigation, as the loading capacities of barges
decrease with falling water levels. Conversely, this means more tonnage has to be available to transport
the same load. Costs increase substantially because as well as limited capacity use of the vessels usually
available, it becomes necessary to charter additional tonnage. The lower the water levels fall, the more
expensive this additional tonnage becomes, since the market gets tighter all the time. In order to cover
these additional costs we make a Low Water Surcharge when gauge levels fall below a certain point. In
this way, we enlist the support of our customers in contributing to the substantial additional costs that we
have to bear in periods of low water. These surcharges were last reviewed in 2004 following a prolonged
period of low water in the previous year.
So that we can continue to offer you our barge service as a reliable and ecologically friendly product, a
new adjustment of our LWS has become necessary taking into account the changed structure of the fleet.
Below is the new table, which will apply as from 1 July 2017.
The applicable date is the actual day of departure of the barge:
Export: at the inland terminal / Import: at the seaport
The Low Water Surcharge will only be charged for full (loaded) containers:

The basis taken for the gauge level: Gauge measurement at 5:00 a.m. (CET) according to the
“Elektronischem Wasserstrassen Informationssystem”
Please note:

If the gauge measurement at Emmerich is ≤ 0.30 m, at Duisburg ≤ 1.80 m and / or at Kaub ≤ 0.80 m,
B2L Cargocare B.V. no longer has the obligation to transport.
In the case of a free agreement, transports will still be carried out subject to the following prerequisites:
 Availability of sufficient barge capacities at acceptable charter prices
 Navigational feasibility of the vessels
At gauge levels where “free agreement” applies, we regret that it is no longer possible to guarantee that
your containers will be delivered punctually.
We hope for your understanding, and ask you to pass on this information to all responsible employees in
your company. We shall be glad to answer any questions you or your employees may have, and to
provide additional information.
Kind regards
B2L Cargocare B.V. Team