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HAMBURG, April 23 (Reuters) - Cargo vessels cannot navigate much of the Rhine in Germany when fully loaded after dry weather caused a drop in water levels.
Traders said that from Duisburg and Cologne to south Germany the Rhine is too shallow for normal sailings, which means vessel operators impose surcharges on freight rates for cargo owners.
The Rhine is a major shipping route for commodities such as grains, minerals, coal and fuel products including heating oil.
German companies faced supply bottlenecks and production problems last year after a drought and heatwave led to unusually low water levels on the Rhine.
More rain is forecast in river catchment areas in southern Germany later this week which could help raise water levels. (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Alexander Smith)