Dr Paul Richards, member of the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board responsible for the navigation and pilotage of the port, takes a closer look at activity over the last few weeks. His column will be a regular feature every two months in Your Local Paper.

In June and July 36 ships arrived and departed the two enclosed docks and riverside quay.  Wheat and barley from the farms of the eastern counties is Lynn’s major export trade as it has been since 1500.  Eleven vessels took wheat or barley to Seville, Belfast, Rotterdam, Rostock, Bruges, Santa Cruz in Tenerife and other ports.  All sailed to Lynn in ballast which is simply sea water pumped into tanks rather than the bricks and stones of the past, visible in the town’s walls and houses.

Scrap metal is also exported from Lynn and the Rodau took a cargo to Santander in Spain on June 4,

Timber for the building and furniture trades distributed inland by road transport is Lynn’s principal import.

Five ships loaded in Kaskinen in Finland, part unloaded at Seaham, on England’s north-east coast, before discharging the remainder here.  Swe Carrier and Swe Freighter loaded at ports in eastern Sweden with timber products and part discharged at Shoreham (Sussex) and Hull before completing the unloading at Lynn.  Scot Pioneer and Scot Trader brought full cargoes of timber from Varberg in Sweden for unloading at our port.

Wheat is also imported into Lynn from the smaller French ports on the river Seine such as Bonnieres from where the Iberica Hav arrived on June 3.  A large shipment of barley from Aberdeen for local maltings was unloaded from the Maremka on June 10.  The Leonie imported maize to Lynn on July 4 from a port in western France called La Pallice.  Two ships arrived in the docks from Amsterdam with soya transported from South America to Europe in bulk carriers and distributed by smaller coastal vessels.  To supply regional farmers two more vessels imported fertilisers into Lynn from Antwerp at the end of July.

Aggregate is imported from Randers in Denmark.  It is a manufactured clay product used in insulation and building blocks.  Four vessels arrived at Lynn in June and July with the product, but all departed in ballast.  Sometimes ships leave the docks for the port’s anchorage area in the Wash and wait for orders from the owners about their next destination.  On June 29 the Tranrisoluto and on July 8 the Swe Carrier left Lynn with the designation “SFO” or “Sea for Orders” allowing berths to be rapidly vacated.

The trade of the Port for the six months ended 30 June 2016 shows an increase of cargo tonnage over the same period in 2015, from 215,216 to 223,318 tonnes.  Lynn continues to trade with many European and British ports to benefit the local economy and attract new business.  There is scope for the Port to increase its trade with fellow members of the New Hanseatic League such as Rostock and Hamburg.  ABP (Associated British Ports), the owner of the dock estate, plans new investment to ensure the future is bright for this English east coast haven.

Dr Paul Richards

August 2016

The author is a member of the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board responsible for the navigation and pilotage of the Port.