London Gateway 'super-port' welcomes first vessel

Justin Rowlatt speaks to Andrew Bowen, London Gateway's Engineering Director,

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London Gateway, the UK's newest container port, has welcomed its first vessel.

The £1.5bn facility at Thurrock, Essex, is 20 miles (32km) down the River Thames from London.

It is owned by Dubai-based DP World, which says it will be able to handle 3.5 million containers a year.

It is forecast that the development will create 27,000 jobs in London and the South East and contribute £2.4bn a year to its economy.

On a visit to the site in June, Prime Minister David Cameron described the port as an "emblem of ambition".

But trade union Unite has previously held protests at the port as part of a row over union recognition.

The union claims that rather than creating jobs, London Gateway could suck business and jobs away from other UK ports, as well as undermine the pay and conditions of workers.

DP World has said that if a majority of workers wished to be recognised, it would enter talks with the relevant union.

The first vessel to dock at the port was the MOL Caledon, a 58,000-tonne container ship, laden with fruit and wine from South Africa.

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