Frozen River Danube costing shippers millions

As lengthy stretch of River Danube lies frozen, shippers lose millions in trade

Associated Press
Frozen River Danube costing shippers millions

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The crew of a border patrol ship waits as their boat is freed from frozen Danube waters by an ice breaker, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Bulgaria and Romania are suspending all shipping on the Danube River due to severe frost and the vast amount of ice blocking the heavily traveled waterway, Bulgaria's Transport Ministry said Wednesday.Authorities say up to 90 percent of the river surface is covered with floating ice, making it extremely difficult to traverse Europe's main commercial waterway, which winds 2,860-kilometer (1,777-mile) from Germany and serves as the natural border between Bulgaria and Romania.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- Shippers say they are losing millions in trade because a lengthy stretch of the River Danube in Europe is stuck in the longest freeze in its recent history.

The Danube flows through nine countries. It began to ice over in early February as temperatures plunged to minus 20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).

The Romanian Transportation Ministry says shipping was halted for some 700 kilometers (440 miles) on Friday, and six river crossings were closed in Romania due to the ice.

Costache Constanin, manager of Europolis Shipping & Trading, told The Associated Press that the freeze was costing shipping companies millions of euros (dollars).

He says "the transportation of raw materials, coal, minerals, cereals ... are all affected."

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