The U.K.’s newest and largest container ship port, the deepwater London Gateway owned by DP World Ltd. (LON:DPW), opened Thursday by unloading a cargo from South Africa, according to the BBC.
The $1.5 billion massive, six-berth facility in Thurrock, Essex, 20 miles down the River Thames from London, welcomed the MOL Caledon, a 58,000-ton container ship stocked with fruit and wine from South Africa.
The port will be able to handle 3.5 million containers a year. Some predict that the port will create 27,000 jobs in London and the South East and contribute 2.4 billion pounds a year to the economy.
“This is the first port to be built in the U.K. in a generation,” DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said in a statement. “There is nothing else like this. Shipping lines can now bring the world’s largest ships closer to key U.K. markets and reduce the costs of transportation.”
Unite, a trade union, has repeatedly spoken out against the new port, saying it would siphon jobs from other British ports while ignoring the unions.
DP World said that if a majority of workers want to be organized, it would enter into talks with the relevant union.