German Federal Minister for Digital & Transport Dr Volker Wissing wants to significantly increase the speed at which critical bottlenecks on the Rhine are eliminated. As announced on 29 August in Mainz as part of a discussion with industry and inland shipping, an acceleration commission made up of politicians, authorities and industry is to speed up the Low Water Rhine action plan adopted in 2019. As part of a top-level discussion, politics and industry dealt with the effects of low Rhine water levels on the supply chains and the associated challenges. With regard to the further implementation of the "Low Water Rhine" action plan, both sides agreed on the speedy elimination of critical bottlenecks on the Rhine laid down in the Federal Transport Routes Plan and the increase in the number of ships suitable for low water levels in order to ensure the competitiveness of industry on the Rhine. To this end, an agreement was reached on a joint acceleration commission made up of politicians, authorities and industry. According to Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing, the expansion of the shipping lane is one of the most important transport projects in Germany. The aim is to increase the fairway from a guaranteed 1.90 meters to a continuous 2 meters German Steel Association W Stahl President Mr Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff said “The acceleration commission comes at the right time in view of the current low water. A quick elimination of bottlenecks on the Middle and Lower Rhine is a decisive contribution to better protecting Rhine navigation and its major industrial customers from risks at low water. As the most important inland waterway in Europe, the Rhine is particularly important for the steel industry.” In the summer of 2022, the persistent drought has so far resulted in very low water levels in the Rhine and made freight transport considerably more difficult. The domestic steel industry is also affected by this: 36 million tons of goods for the steel industry are transported on German inland waterways every year. This means that inland shipping has a share of almost 30% in the transport volume of the steel industry. The industry depends on a reliable supply of ore and coal, as it has to produce continuously to avoid serious damage to central plants such as coking plants or blast furnaces.