Dr Paul Richards, member of the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board responsible for the navigation and pilotage of the port, takes a regular look at the port activity. Pictured is the Spanaco Fidelity loading at the riverside quay.

During April and May, 22 cargo ships arrived and 23 departed our Wash haven, with 15 and seven in ballast respectively.  

 Exports were more buoyant than imports. The amount of Scandinavian timber landed in particular was smaller than usually reported, though there are stockpiles on the dock estate. This reflects a construction industry working at less than full capacity but building projects are now picking up.

Three ships imported timber. A full cargo was carried from Varberg in Sweden by SMN Explorer. From another Swedish port the Swe Carrier part discharged its cargo at Hull before unloading the remainder at Lynn in April. In May the same vessel returned to The Wash with a part cargo, having already discharged timber at Shoreham in Sussex. Swe Carrier is one of the larger ships which regularly visits Lynn at nearly 95 metres.

Two shipments of fertiliser arrived in the Great Ouse from Amsterdam and Police in Poland transported by the Amadeus Titanium and Rix Ruby respectively. Not far from the Polish border on the Baltic is the German port of Vierow from where the Von Adler carried a cargo of wheat to Lynn. 

A cargo of maize and soya was bought to The Wash by the Eems Sprinter from the French Atlantic port of Bordeaux.    

Lynn and Bordeaux had strong historic trading links before 1600 when English ships took cloth and cereals to France in exchange for huge quantities of wine.

Barley from Lynn’s rich agricultural hinterland was again the chief export commodity and nine cargoes were shipped across Europe. Two ships sailed to Rotterdam and another two to Eemshaven in the northern Netherlands.  Just across the Dutch border in Germany is Pappenburg on the river Eems where two more vessels unloaded barley.  

Single cargoes were carried from Lynn to Londonderry (Ireland), Lisbon (Portugal) and Port Ellen on Islay.  Islay is an island on the west coast of Scotland which has numerous distilleries and is famous for its peaty whiskey.

The Eems Traveller carried another load of malted barley to Buckie in north east Scotland, having taken a cargo there in February. So far this year, five cargoes of malted barley have been shipped from Lynn to Buckie. The Kruckau transported a cargo of wheat to Cork on the south coast of Ireland.

Lynn’s cereals are stored in tall silos on the dock estate but in the past the riverside was peppered with brick granaries, now apartments and restaurants.  Pulses (beans, peas, lentils etc) were also warehoused in Lynn for export and in April a cargo of beans was shipped to Floro in Norway.

In April, the Rodau carried a cargo of scrap to Amsterdam and in May two more loads were transported to Antwerp and Ghent in Belgium. So the mini mountain of scrap on the Bentinck dock has been modestly diminished.

Over this period, King’s Lynn Conservancy Board (KLCB) staff have continued with buoy operations and general maintenance as well as providing pilotage for ships arriving and departing the port.  Regular hydrographic surveys undertaken for the safe navigation of vessels and surveys for all river users can be found online www.kingslynnport.co.uk

The Association of British Ports (ABP) has recently expressed appreciation for the support KLCB has given to the business activities of the Port of King’s Lynn and its customers. During the coronavirus epidemic the close working relationship between ABP and KLCB has been demonstrated even more than usual. 

Vessels in the port on May 8 sounded their horns to mark VE Day with the participation of quayside workers.