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Reply #17


Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 07:39 AM

17. Disrepair Forces Closure of Vital Shipping Lane GERMANY MARCH 8TH

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/repairs-force-sudden-closure-of-vital-german-kiel-canal-shipping-lane-a-887759.html

The Kiel Canal, one of Europe's most vital shipping lanes, was shut down this week when two neglected locks broke down. The closure threatens to cause major disruption to shipping in Northern Europe, but Germany's Transport Ministry has promised rapid repairs.

It's the world's most heavily trafficked man-made shipping lane, but since Wednesday few ships have been seen on the 100-kilometer (62-mile) long Kiel Canal, which cuts through the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein to form a roughly 450-kilometer shortcut between the North and Baltic Seas.

Although the canal is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, it has been the subject of financial disputes for years between Berlin and the state. Last year, the German government even reduced the money available for maintaining the canal from €60 million ($78 million) to just €11 million, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported Friday. Years of neglect have led some of the locks on the canal to fall into such disrepair that it had to be closed on Wednesday to most ship traffic.
As the Süddeutsche noted, the shipping lane was planned during the 19th century under Kaiser Wilhelm in order to ensure that ships "could get from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea without having to pass by Danish canons." The canal first opened in 1895, and, with relations far friendlier today, it forms a vital link for trade within the European Union and to Russia....Officials hope to reopen the canal to larger ships again in two weeks. In the meantime, large container ships, the heart of the local economy in Hamburg, will have to make an expensive, 450-kilometer detour through Skagerak, Denmark. The Süddeutsche Zeitung estimates it will cost a shipping company €70,000 more for each ship than it would to travel through the canal.

IT APPEARS THAT THE CANAL IS NOT YET OPEN...IT'S BEEN TWO WEEKS ON FRIDAY

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