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 board’s smaller workboat Staplewear assisting the deep-laden vessel Pinnau.


July saw a welcome upturn in the Port’s trade. Over the two months, 33 merchant ships arrived and 31 departed, of which 12 and 19 respectively were in ballast.

The RAF training vessel Smit Spey also called in late June for a few days and returned on July 31. The workboat UKD Seahorse undertook berth levelling at riverside quay following a period of reduced river flows. Silt removal in the two enclosed docks was carried out by the dredger Cherry Sand.

Timber from the Baltic remains Lynn’s major import trade and eight ships arrived in these months. There were four part cargoes unloaded from Kaskinen (Finland) via Seaham near Newcastle.

Two full cargoes of timber arrived at our port from Varberg in Sweden transported by the Scot Venture and Eastern Virage.

The Ernst Hagedorn brought a part cargo from Sweden via Shoreham (near Brighton). At 105 metres in length, the vessel required the services of the tug to assist swinging in the river. Five weeks later, the same ship discharged another timber part cargo at Lynn after first calling at Hull. 

Lynn has exported wheat for centuries but more is now being imported from home and abroad. 

The River Trader and H&S Prudence carried cargoes from Rye in Sussex. The River Trader appeared again in July with wheat from Sheerness just before the Figaro discharged another cargo from the same Kentish port. It should be noted these vessels trading coastwise took a number of heavy lorries off busy roads with environmental benefits too.

From France in June the Aristote transported wheat from Bonniéres and the Beaumaiden a cargo of maize from La Pallice (La Rochelle). These have become regular runs. La Rochelle is the sole French member of the New Hanseatic League which Lynn joined in 2005. 

Another established if modest trade is the import of building aggregate from Randers in Denmark and the Lady Anne Lynn unloaded a cargo in June. Two ships docked in July from Rotterdam with vermiculite used in the manufacture of plaster for the construction industry. In July, the Ashley imported road salt from the Hanseatic town of Wismar on the German Baltic.

Barley remains a valuable export from Lynn and Ireland is a regular destination.

Two vessels carried cargoes to Dublin and two more sailed to Belfast and Foynes over the two months. In June, the Hoogvliet arrived in the Great Ouse in ballast but loaded beans for Ghent in Belgium.

 In the distant and more recent past, rapeseed was exported from Lynn in large quantities. It is good to report two ships carried it to Kent and Kiel in July. Kiel is a Hanseatic port on the German Baltic and the base of the 14th century replica kogge which sailed to Lynn in 2004. Rapeseed is a major source of vegetable oil across the world.

 Scrap metal is another commodity regularly exported from Lynn. Two ships transported cargoes to Portugal and another two loads to France and Spain.A fifth cargo was exported to Dordrecht in July but returned by the Dutch port for re-sorting a few days later.

The conservancy board’s tug Conservator sailed to Grimsby in July to undergo routine maintenance and painting and the smaller workboat Staplewear had to assist the Pinnau in exiting the dock and turning. Both Associated British Ports and King’s Lynn Conservancy Board work together to keep Lynn trading for the benefit of the local and national economy.