Paraná River Low-Water Levels Worsen

Oleochem Analytics – The Paraná River, one of the main commercial waterways in South America, reached -0.28 meters (11 in. below sea level) at the Port of Rosario on August 9, the lowest level recorded since 1944.

The average at this time of the year is around 2.92 meters, according to the Argentinian National Water Institute (INA).

The waterway is of a great strategic importance, politically and economically, and is considered the main integration route for Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), according to the Mixed Argentine-Paraguayan Commission of the Paraná River (COMIP).

INA has laid out multiple possible scenarios for the next four months. One scenario is the most critical and stands very close to the lowest recorded level in 1944, when the river hit -1.39 meters below sea level. In the town of Rosario, the water level in October could reach -1.31 meters below sea level in the next few months.

Analysts say that this will last until the end of the year and that the water stress will be even more extreme.

The decrease in the draft of the river leaves few options for ships that usually come to the Rosario terminals to load grains and by-products.

Either they leave for their destinations with a lower volume of cargo, they move to other ports to complete the loads, or they go directly to other terminals, such as the port of Bahía Blanca or Necochea, in Buenos Aires.

Guillermo Miguel, president of the Port of Rosario, said that vessels had to reduce their tonnage by approximately 20% to continue sailing.

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