Low Rhine forces BASF to limit production at German plant

Chemical giant BASF says it will have to stop production of a component of polyurethanes at its main plant in Germany because low water levels in the Rhine river are impeding its ability to transport raw materials to the site.

BASF said Monday that "not all raw materials can be supplied" to the riverside Ludwigshafen site even though it is making more use of pipelines, trucks and railways.

As a result, BASF said it will have to stop production in Ludwigshafen of TDI, or toluene diisocyanate. It added that a restart "depends on improved Rhine water level."

A hot, dry summer and little significant rainfall since have left German rivers and lakes at record-low levels, leaving barges unable to transport full loads. That has already complicated fuel suppliers' job.