WINTER AT THE PORT OF KING’S LYNN
Every January, the Port authorities assess its overall trade figures for the past year. In 2016, cargo tonnage through Lynn was 508,000 which is an increase of about 33,000 over 2015. On average, 19 or 20 ships visited the Port every month, with the larger vessels using the riverside quay. Three vessels were employed to dredge and maintain the two docks at intervals in 2016.
Timber from the Baltic countries was the major import in 2016; 26 ships arrived from Sweden and 23 from Finland. Fertiliser for English farmers was imported from Baltic and Mediterranean ports.
From Lynn in 2016, ships sailed to 82 destinations in Spain, France, Portugal, The Netherlands, Norway and the Baltic. That 41 vessels departed the Port for Rotterdam reflects the fact that this Dutch harbour is Europe’s biggest. Barley and wheat were easily the most significant exports. Lorries bring the grain from Lynn’s broad agricultural hinterland to the docks where a laboratory tests its quality.
Some ships carrying timber and fertiliser completed unloading at Lynn in 2016 having first discharged some cargo at Seaham, Hull or Rochester.
The King’s Lynn Conservancy Board (KLCB) offers a discount on specific charges to encourage shippers to use the Port for smaller quantities. In 2016, 115 ships (out of 223) arrived and 93 departed in ballast or without cargo.
December and January are normally quiet months for England’s ports. Of the 31 vessels which arrived at Lynn over this winter period, seven imported timber from Sweden, Finland and Latvia. Six vessels part unloaded at Seaham, Hull, Boston and Rochester. Three ships carried aggregate from Randers in Denmark and one vessel arrived with the same cargo from Portugal. In December a cargo of soya was imported from Hamburg. It is transported to Europe from South America in large bulk carriers for distribution to smaller ports. Fertiliser from Sagunto on the Spanish Mediterranean coast was imported in the “Wilson Huelva” on 16 December.
Of the 28 ships which departed the Port in these two recent winter months, 15 were in ballast or without a cargo. Cereals were again the principal export. Four vessels carried wheat and another four barley to Rotterdam, Ghent, Eemshaven, Dordrecht and Lisahally (the port for Londonderry). In December two ships took malted barley to Buckie in Scotland to supply the Scottish whisky industry.
Associated British Ports (ABP) own the 97 acre dock estate and is investing in Lynn to increase its trade. A new crane is now on site, allowing bigger ships to visit our Wash port. New storage facilities are also part of the ABP investment programme. ABP is fully committed to its people and staff training, but places emphasis too on support for local communities around its ports.
Successful partnership working between ABP and KLCB is crucial if the Port is to prosper and good relations prevail. The ABP manager is a member of the KLCB which meets monthly. Captain John Lorking has been KLCB chief executive and harbour master since 1999 but will retire shortly from the post to be succeeded by Captain Patrick Jary. It is anticipated that 2017 will bring another increase in the tonnage passing through the Port.