Because of the drought, a significant drop in water levels stuck hundreds of ships on the Romanian-Bulgarian portion of the Danube.
According to Agerpres, the lowest water levels registered in Bulgaria were found in the vicinity of the islands of Belene and Batin. There is currently 1.30 meters of water. No ships are now grounded, as captains stay away from the area and wait for the water level to rise before setting sail. However, this results in losses for businesses and shipowners.
There were similar low water situations in 2003 as well as 2018, but now the drought has come too soon and this will probably be the worst year for river transport.Ivan Zhekov, head of the Ruse River Surveillance Directorate
However, the water level of the Danube is not likely to rise any time soon. Also, on the Romanian side, where there was water a few months ago, there is only sand. Three-quarters of the Danube can be crossed on foot, all the way to the Bulgarians.
Moreover, the drought slows down the transport of goods on the Danube. In order not to suspend the transportation of goods on the Danube, Romania is also dredging in the Bulgarian area after the neighbouring country abandoned the works.
Maintaining a constant and stable transport flow on the Danube is essential. The leading waterway network in Europe is the Rhine-Danube. The Rhine Basin is Europe’s most developed and well-maintained river transport network. It covers 80% of freight transport. The Danube connects Kelheim with Sulina and the North Sea with the Black Sea. 42% of the navigable route, approximately 1,075 kilometres, is in Romania.