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. Pictured is the Rocamar preparing to leave riverside quay, showing the box-shaped hold of the modern vessel, which allows for quick and easy cargo stowage/handling.

During February and March, 31 cargo ships arrived and 32 departed the port with 11 and 20 in ballast respectively.  

Overall, these two months showed a welcome if modest upturn in trade compared to last year.

In February, the Smit Spey revisited to train RAF crews in The Wash and UKD Seahorse undertook bed levelling work at the riverside quay and in the docks.

Timber from Scandinavia and the Baltic has been Lynn’s major import for at least 400 years and seven ships arrived. 

From the Swedish ports of Varberg, Skelleftea and Iggesund three vessels discharged full cargoes and the Swe-Carrier delivered another respectively.  Three part cargoes from the Baltic were shipped to Lynn via Hull and Seaham.

A Russian Sormovskiy class vessel transported a full cargo of pallet wood from Ventspills in Latvia to our port. Such ships are some of the largest to visit Lynn at 119-metres long. They require skilful handling by the pilot assisted by the tug when turning around in the Bentinck dock.  

Such tasks are undertaken by the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board (KLCB) responsible for the navigation and pilotage of the port.

A variety of other cargoes imported to Lynn form Europe will mostly be familiar to readers. Three ships arrived with maize (for animal feed) from the French Atlantic ports of Bordeaux and La Pallice with the third from Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port.  

Peas are a rare import but the Eems Star carried a load from Rouen which is on the river Seine in northern France.

Out of Wismar on the Baltic coast of Germany, the Eems Solar arrived in Lynn with a cargo of salt for industrial use.  

From the nearby German port of Vierow the Fri Lake discharged wheat at Lynn before sailing to Sunderland in ballast.

Ships carrying aggregate for the construction industry from Randers in Denmark to Lynn is a regular run and two cargoes were unloaded. Another regular trade is the import of fertiliser for England’s farmlands. Two ships with full cargoes arrived in The Wash from Amsterdam and a third unloaded a part cargo after calling at Methil near Edinburgh.

Vermiculite is a mineral used as an insulation material and the Wilson Garston transported a load to Lynn from Antwerp which is Europe’s fourth largest port.

More ships leave Lynn in ballast than arrive without cargo but exports are essential to the Port’s trade. East Anglian barley is in demand around Europe and four shipments from Lynn went to Skive (Norway), Londonderry (Ireland), Dordrecht and Eemshaven in The Netherlands.

A cargo of peas was imported from Rouen to Lynn as seen but a shipment of beans was exported from Lynn to Rouen in the Wilson Grimsby!

Scrap metal has become a significant export and seven ships from Lynn transported it to Klaipeda (Lithuania), Leixoes (Portugal) Aviles (Spain) and Antwerp.  

Klaipeda was the destination for three vessels and one was owned by the Port of Wisbech Ltd (not the council) which employs two vessels in the run from The Wash to the Baltic with timber the return cargo.

Associated British Ports (ABP) has an investment programme to upgrade its dock estate. The tall white silo, built in 1976 and dominant on Lynn’s skyline, is to be refurbished by ABP to allow another 6,000 tons of storage.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Alexandra Dock (1869 to 2019) True’s Yard, supported by ABP, will stage an exhibition which opens on June 1.