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 months. His column appears every two months in Your Local Paper. Pictured is the Swe-Freighter swinging round in the river in July. It had discharged a part-cargo of timber before departing for Sunderland in ballast.

Over June and July 40 merchant ships arrived and 41 departed the Port of King’s Lynn with 19 and 23 in ballast respectively. Trade through our Wash port continues to be buoyant.

Timber from Scandinavia and the Baltic remains by far the principal import to suggest the English construction industry is still growing.  Of the 14 vessels which sailed to Lynn with wood in this period, eight carried full loads, the other six ships having part discharged in other east coast ports. The Scot Venture docked on July 22 with timber from Varburg and departed on July 24 for the same Swedish harbour, before returning to The Wash with another full cargo on July 28.

Two shipments of aggregate for the building industry arrived from Aveiro in Portugal and Randers in Denmark which are regular if small runs. A new trade in aggregate was granite from Glensanda which is a big quarry in Scotland not far from Oban.

Another regular run over 2020/21 has been ships carrying wheat to Lynn from Vierow on the German Baltic and the Eastern Virage and Fri River both landed cargoes. 

The Vulin transported barley from Aberdeen to The Wash for malting in Norfolk with the malt being duly returned to Scottish distilleries.

In June the Wilson Mosel arrived in the River Great Ouse from Rotterdam to discharge a cargo of vermiculite which is a mineral used for insulation and in fertilisers. It is also sold in bags at England’s garden centres.

The scrap metal mini-mountain on the Bentinck dock was diminished by eight shipments over these two months to make this commodity Lynn’s major export. Vessels sailed to several ports in continental Europe. Two ships voyaged to Aviles and Seville in north and south Spain respectively, another two had Klaipeda in Lithuania as the destination, three more landed loads in Rotterdam (2) and Dordrecht in The Netherlands. The eighth cargo of scrap metal was carried by the Sandel to Bremen on the river Weser in north-west Germany. This Hanseatic city has historic trading ties to Lynn going back to 1200.

Five ships loaded beans from England’s farmlands at Lynn all bound for Norway.  Four vessels sailed to Floro in what has become a regular run, though one called on route at Bremen for additional cargo. The fifth shipment went to Bergneset which is also on the western coast of Norway.

Barley remains a significant export from our Wash haven. The Arklow Rogue and Vitality transported cargoes to Cork (Irish Republic) and Belfast (Northern Ireland) respectively. Two consignments were taken to Rotterdam (Europe’s biggest port) by the Rig and Jongleur. The fifth load was discharged at Hamburg which Hanseatic city is famous for its brewing industry. In the 15th century there were 500 breweries here with its merchants sending beer to many towns in western Europe.

The priority for the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board (KLCB) is to safeguard the shipping channel which is always moving. After a morning survey during this period the St Edmund went out that same evening to reposition buoys.  KLCB craft have to be maintained. The pilot boat United visited Wisbech to be lifted out of the water to enable a statutory survey to be undertaken.

The dock estate and riverside quay are owned by Associated British Ports (ABP) which works in partnership with KLCB.  The port manager is a member of its board whose monthly meetings have been via Zoom over the last year or more.

The South Quay offers visitors an interesting walk with its fishing boats and leisure craft and the Baden Powell at the pontoons.