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.

Continue Reading Below

DP World said that if a majority of workers want to be organized, it would enter into talks with the relevant union.