Diesel exports to Germany from the Russian Baltic port of Primorsk climbed to a multi-year high in October, amid restricted inland barge movements caused by lower Rhine river levels.

An estimated 155,000 b/d of diesel was observed departing Primorsk for German ports in October, the highest observed by Vortexa since November 2015 and up from 115,000 b/d in September.

Germany’s increased appetite for diesel from Primorsk — the largest exporter of diesel to northwest Europe — comes at a time when relatively low water levels along the river Rhine are restricting loading capacity for barges delivering to inland consumers.

On 26 October, Germany’s national stockpiling agency (EBV) made available around 1.1mn bl of diesel held as strategic oil reserves in storage tanks across the country. Persistently low water levels have also supported increased rail and truck deliveries from northern Germany in recent weeks, according to market participants.

The German ports of Hamburg and Nordenham are home to terminals with the ability to redistribute cargoes by road and/or rail. Exports to both ports from Primorsk rose in October from previous months, Vortexa data showed.

Exports to Hamburg rose to almost 140,000 b/d in October, a multi-year high, while around 12,000 b/d set off for Nordenham, which had last received Primorsk diesel in early August, tracking indicated.

Inland product availability was also exacerbated by the unplanned shutdown of the Bayernoil 210,000 b/d refinery complex on 1 September after a fire and explosion occurred. The plant supplies southern Germany with refined products including diesel.

The uptick in demand means Germany was by far the largest importer of Primorsk diesel cargoes in October. Almost 60pc of the diesel leaving Primorsk in October headed to German ports, up from a share of less than a third in recent years.

Diesel flows from Primorsk to Germany have grown month-on-month in September and October despite total exports from the Baltic Port declining over the same period. Germany also receives diesel via pipelines from the ARA region.

To offset the rise in German intake, Primorsk-loaded exports to the UK and France – the other major recipients of diesel from the port — have fallen substantially. Primorsk diesel exports to UK and French ports in October stood at around 43,000 b/d and 15,000 b/d, down by 48pc and 40pc on the month, respectively.