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 port activity. His column is a feature every two months. Unloading a gas turbine, bound for Palm Paper. Picture: J.C. Barrett

In October and November, 31 ships arrived and departed our Wash port, with 11 and 17 in ballast respectively.  

The Dredger UKD Cherry Sand removed silt from the two docks. Timber for Scandinavia to supply Britain’s builders was again the chief import. Of seven ships discharging cargo at King’s Lynn, six had part unloaded at Seaham (3), Hull (2) and Shoreham. The Scot Venture entered the docks on October 16 with a full load of timber from Varberg in Sweden.

Three ships imported aggregate for the construction industry on what is a familiar run – two vessels from Randers, Denmark and a third from Aveiro, Portugal.  A ship from La Pallice unloaded maize and another from the same French port carried maize and soya. The Aristote imported the usual bi-monthly cargo of wheat from Bonnieres on the river Seine.

In November, three vessels imported fertiliser. The Aristote (frequently seen in our port) came from Amsterdam and two more ships from Terneuzen in The Netherlands.

In October, the Figaro and Frisian River delivered two unusual cargoes: a 100-tonne gas turbine power unit and smaller generator from Norrkopping in Sweden and Hamburg respectively. They were lifted off by crane onto special road transport for the short trip to Palm Paper. In November, the Kristen B arrived from Raynes Jetty in North Wales with the first cargo of stone for the RAF Marham upgrade.

Cereals have been Lynn’s staple export for 500 years but the traffic has been less this year than normal. But there were still six vessels departing the port with full cargoes of barley; two to Ireland (Warren Point and Kinsale). Four ships carried barley to Aviles (Portugal), Bremen (a Hanse trading partner) and Lisbon.

In the 18th century, Lynn merchants exported huge quantities of cereals to Portugal in exchange for wine which was sent via the Great Ouse to 10 English counties. King’s Staithe Square was an outdoor market for corn and wine traders every late summer and cellars linked to Bank House and north of the Purfleet still impress.

Two ships took beans to Rouen in northern France and another the same cargo in October to Seville in Spain. The usual loads of scrap were shipped with the Pinnau and Ostenau having Bilbao (Spain) and Bayonne (France) as their destinations respectively. In November, the Mirjam transported rapeseed to Kent.

The Port of Lynn depends on the successful partnership between King’s Lynn Conservancy Board and Associated British Ports which owns the enclosed docks. Keeping Lynn trading is the shared goal.