BUDAPEST, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Low water levels on the Danube river have reduced freight capacity by two-thirds on the stretch of the river that runs through Hungary, Attila Bencsik, director of the Association of Domestic Water Freight Carriers (MBFSZ), said here on Tuesday.
"Shipping companies are either waiting with their freight for higher water levels, racking up losses each day, or loading it onto smaller vessels or lorries," Benscik said, quoted by Hungarian news agency MTI.
Gabor Spanyik, managing director of passenger ship company Mahart PassNave, told MTI that the low water levels have made navigation impossible in some stretches of the Danube in the Hungarian capital Budapest.
Some ports north of Budapest, like the ones in Tahitofalu or Leanyfalu, had to be closed accoring to Spanyik.
Even small boats with only one or two people have encountered problems. "I was fishing happily with my little boat, when suddenly the boat stopped, on a sandy bank, scratching the hull, I had some difficulties getting it back onto the water," Balazs, a fisherman in his 40s told Xinhua.
Spanyik estimated the level of his company's losses at close to 200 million forints (3200,000 U.S. dollars).
Otto Cseh, the CEO of the Budapest Freeport Logistics company, said that the capacity of the port was affected by the low water level of the Danube, and that the shipping company generated a smaller amount of traffic there, and the ship were traveling lighter.
He also estimated that shipping companies used 20-200 percent less port services than under normal waterways.