East German officials announced on January 3rd that the Mittelland Canal -- the main waterway for West German coal shipments to west Berlin -- would be closed for eight weeks from January 15th.
G.V. Coal barge on the canal.
Angle V. Passing beneath.
L.V. Coal barge.
G.V. At Westhafen docks.
S.C.U. Coal being unloaded by grab.
G.V.Pan The coal wharf.
S.V. Machine and work on the wharf.
S.V. Crates being unloaded.
Angle V. The hold of a cement carrying barge.
L.V. The wharf.
G.V. The deserted dock at Rothensee.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: East German officials announced on January 3rd that the Mittelland Canal -- the main waterway for West German coal shipments to west Berlin -- would be closed for eight weeks from January 15th. for "urgent repairs" to locks near Magdeburg.
The announcement came as a surprise to west Berlin city officials. The closing of the canal is no small matter, especially in view of the immense amount of tonnage carried along the waterway.
Statistics reveal that in 1957 the total tonnage waterborne was 2,395,000, of which coal accounted for 1,419,000 tons.
At Westhafen congestion of goods - cement, coal, tinned foods - is mounting up, owing to the fact that vessels are prevented from entering owing to the ship-lifting lock, at Rothensee being closed.
This means that traffic must proceed via Hamburg, a very expensive detour.