By Dr Paul Richards, a member of the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board responsible for the navigation and pilotage of the port. His column appears every two months in Your Local Paper. The picture by Paul Bailey shows one of the buoys.

Over October and November 31 cargo ships arrived and 31 vessels departed our Wash haven – 13 and 20 respectively were in ballast.  

Some larger ships have sailed to King’s Lynn this year which has helped trade through the port. The dredger Cherry Sand has also been dredging the two docks.

The timber traffic into Lynn from Scandinavia and the Baltic continues as it has done for centuries. Three ships arrived with full cargoes and three with part cargoes (via Seaham and Hull) from Swedish harbours. Another vessel from Finland unloaded part of its cargo at Seaham before discharging the remainder at Lynn.

Building aggregate is another staple import and four ships transported cargoes from Randers in Denmark and Aveiro in Portugal.

Two ships delivered maize to Lynn from French ports on the Atlantic coast, La Pallice and Bordeaux.  From Rouen on the river Seine in France the Leine unloaded a cargo of peas on November 21 and departed the next day (in ballast) for Bremen which Hanseatic port once traded regularly with Lynn.

Farmers in Lynn’s agricultural hinterland are the customers for the fertilisers landed at the port and two ships discharged mixed bulk loads. One vessel arrived direct from Klaipeda in Lithuania with a full cargo and another with a part-cargo from the same port via Rosyth (near Edinburgh).

Wismar is a Hanseatic port on the German Baltic which traded with Lynn in the 14th century. From here, the Fluvius Teign arrived in the Great Ouse with a cargo of industrial salt. Vierow is another German harbour in the Baltic from where the Fri Tide arrived at Lynn on November 5 with a cargo of wheat.

Exports from Lynn over this period followed a familiar pattern. East Anglian barley is highly regarded at home and abroad. Two ships sailed with full loads to Rotterdam and Dordrecht in the Netherlands. Two more vessels carried barley to Derry and Waterford in Ireland; the latter port was the destination for the Scot Navigator, which normally discharges timber at Lynn.

The Elbetor and Theseus transported beans to Rouen in France and Floro in Norway respectively. The Theseus had discharged fertilisers at Lynn on October 28 and departed on October 31 for Floro.  

This was good commercial practice for the shipowner as his vessel did not have to sail in ballast to pick up cargo elsewhere.

Observant people at Lynn’s True’s Yard in North Street have noticed how the scrap metal mini mountain on the dock estate has recently been diminishing. Three ships have carried loads to Bilbao in Spain and two other vessels to Santander (Spain) and Bayonne (France).

Lynn conservancy board staff have been busy maintaining navigation aids including work to establish three new buoys further out in the Wash to mark the location of power cables.  

On the South Quay they are preparing a safe berth for a new commercial fishing vessel.  

More than 30 fishing boats operate out of Lynn which is more than many east coast harbours.

Associated British Ports (ABP) owns the two enclosed docks (the dock estate is 98 acres) and 2019 brings the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Alexandra Dock. This grand event marked the beginnings of the modern port and it is good to report that the 150th anniversary is on ABP’s radar.  

We also welcomed a new port manager at Lynn in November – Kim Kennedy.  The ABP manager attends the monthly meetings of the conservancy board at Common Staithe in a headquarters built as a swimming bath in 1856. The pilot tower was built on to it in 1864.