Dr Paul Richards, member of the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board responsible for the navigation and pilotage of the port, takes a look at activity over the last few weeks. His column appears every two months in Your Local Paper. Pictured is the Swe-Carrier departing the docks.

Over December and January, 29 ships arrived in King’s Lynn Port and 26 departed, with 12 and 16 in ballast (or without cargo) respectively.  

December is usually a quiet month but January shipping was slightly better than last year.

Eight vessels transported timber from Finland and Sweden with six part unloading in other east coast harbours before docking at Lynn.  Seaham, Hull and Rochester the ports in question.

The Delamar arrived on January 5 but had part unloaded in Antwerp, Europe’s fourth largest port.  A full cargo of timber was carried direct to Lynn from Varberg in south west Sweden by SMN Explorer.

A ship frequently involved in Lynn’s timber trade is Swe-Carrier, one of the largest which regularly berths in the Alexandra Dock. At more than 98 metres long and 13.80 metres wide, she has to be taken into the dock backwards. This is a skilled manoeuvre by conservancy board pilots and the ship’s master – all without the help of a tug.

Salt for application to Norfolk’s roads during the winter was imported by the Eems Stream in early December from Wismar on the German Baltic.  This Hanseatic port town is the same size as Lynn with many fine buildings.  Another single cargo in December was a load of soya brought from Amsterdam by the Maremka.

Three ships transported fertiliser to Lynn from Amsterdam, Police (Poland) and Dordrect (Holland) for regional farmers.   The Lady Anna carried aggregate for the building industry from Randers in Denmark and the Tanja unloaded maize from La Pallice in France. All this traffic is regular and part of Lynn’s staple trades.

An important heavy cargo was carried from Antwerp to Lynn by the H. and S. Wisdom. This was two, 110-tonne parts for the upgrading of Lynn power station lifted off the ship onto specialist road transport by a large mobile crane for the short journey to Saddlebow.

Barley remains Lynn’s top export and five ships over this period took it to Europe, three to The Netherlands and two to Lisbon. Our Wash port has sent wheat and barley to Portugal for centuries but no longer for return cargoes of wine. Beans have also been exported from Lynn since medieval times and a ship took such a cargo to Rouen in France which is a river port on the Seine.

Four loads of scrap were exported to Bilboa and one each to Ferrol (Spain) and Bayonne (France) with which traffic readers will be familiar. Large quantities of Europe’s scrap metal have been imported by China for decades to fuel its Industrial Revolution.

Last year was more difficult for the port than 2016 but there is optimism this year will show an upturn. Associated British Ports (ABP) will continue to invest in port facilities and work with the conservancy board to ensure Lynn is an attractive and safe destination for ships.


Dr Paul Richards, member of the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board responsible for the navigation and pilotage of the port, takes a look at activity over the last few weeks. His column appears every two months in Your Local Paper. Pictured is the Swe-Carrier departing the docks.

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