Newport’s docks are not perhaps as full and bustling as they were in its heyday, but as these Argus pictures show, vessels from across the world were calling in numbers at Newport through the 1980s and they do so still.

The docks take in cargoes from across the world – some exotic, some mundane. In these pictures we see a Russian ship, the Sormovskiy 3060, loaded by enterprising seamen with second-hand Lada cars in the 1990s.

In another scene, a towering docks crane unloads bananas from the Caribbean. An aerial shot shows acres of timber, neatly stacked in great piles while a ship unloads her own cargo.

Aside from unloading and loading cargoes, these pictures show how busy these places are. Two tugboats manoeuvre a crane under which is slung a vast metal pipe.

Another shot shows a massive floating crane, the Hebe I. The 400-tonne, self-propelled, came from Hamburg and was much in demand at Newport. Here it is carrying a slightly smaller dock crane across the placid waters of the docks. The stillness of the water contrasting with the massive mechanical effort involved. Another shows the lock gates with the glistening, shifting Severn sands outside and the full water buoying merchant ships inside.

Another shows the Patricia I, stacked with containers edging its way towards the dock while a Hamburg ship, the Nordland V, lies alongside with its hatches open to be unloaded the traditional way by crane.

An unusual shot from May 1983 shows the Archbishop of Wales, Derrick Childs and the Reverend Brian Stares, blessing the water of Newport Docks and leading prayers for those who work on the sea.

All pictures are by Argus photographers.