Transport and Environment (T&E), “Europe’s leading clean transport campaign group”, has a plan. They believe Europe could be able to produce all the batteries it needs by 2027, without imports from China. It’s a laudable goal, and the idea is amazing since Europe is fast rushing to battery-powered electric vehicles, which consume lots of batteries.
The group imagines a European sovereignty fund to support domestic battery production, and streamlining of EU rules on state aid. Battery plants now take a long time to build, since there are considerable risks to their storage and manufacture.
According to the article, about half of Europe’s batteries are already sourced there. The EU is mandating electric vehicles by 2035, which sets up a big increase in demand for batteries.
The supply chains associated with electric vehicles are interesting and of crucial importance so that they will be accepted and effectively used. Batteries are a major element, and disruptions in the supply are not healthy for European manufacturers.
Low water levels in the Rhine River severely impact barge and shipping traffic. The Rhine is one of the most important inland shipping routes in Europe. EU nations have for years now tried to emphasize getting freight traffic off the roads and onto rivers via barge.
One of the most severe impacts is to refineries along the Rhine. They have had to shut down because of lack of supply. That’s bad for Europe, because of the shortage of petroleum fuels due to the Ukraine war.
This map shows the problem.
The depth measurements at Kaub, shown in the middle of the map, increased in the last few days due to extensive rain in Switzerland, but remain far below normal levels. There’s not enough water to float some barges that would normally be used for river cargo and petroleum products.
It’s a blow for the EU caused by a natural problem. Is global warming to blame? We don’t know, but cyclical droughts have been known for years, and clearly disrupt our plans. Trucking congestion is rising fast, and is neither as efficient nor as clean as the barge traffic.
The UK, with Brexit, has been one of the hardest hit nations with driver shortages. Here is some talk on the situation.
Apparently driver shortage surcharges are being added by some carriers, claiming all the money goes to drivers. Who believes that? Some think other carriers are also doing it but not calling it specifically for drivers. Any carrier may or may not be keeping the surcharge themselves, as there is no documentation of where it is going.