A first ship has berthed in the deep-water quay of London Gateway, the container port being developed by DP World on the Thames Estuary in the United Kingdom.
The Wieniawski, a cargo vessel that began its journey in China several weeks ago, was carrying four new automatic stacking cranes for the port's container handling area.
The 170-metre-long ship was safely guided from the piloting station in the Prince's Channel to London Gateway on Friday by a Port of London Authority pilot.
The London Gateway chief executive, Simon Moore, and the harbourmaster, Colin Hitchcock, presented the ship's captain, Captain D Musil, and the port pilot, Simon Liley, each with a bronze model dhow to commemorate the event.
"The Wieniawski arrived on time, on schedule and berthed safely," Mr Hitchcock said. "This is a great big Christmas present for the whole team."
Mr Moore said, "Historically, London has played a major role in the world's shipping industry and today marks the start of a return to former glories. Soon, London will once again be able to boast one of the world's most advanced ports and have regained its place at the heart of the UK's trade."
"By building a new port for the UK which is closer to the major population and distribution centres such as London, Birmingham and Manchester, we can make supply chains more efficient and reduce costs for shippers across the UK."
London Gateway is to open in the fourth quarter of next year and is designed to handle the world's largest container ships. It will be integrated with one million square metres of logistics and distribution warehousing, providing businesses with opportunities to reduce supply chain costs, time and carbon-dioxide emissions.
"It's a great honour to have played a part in such a historic occasion," Mr Liley said. "Everything went to plan and having undertaken numerous practice simulations for the berthing of the world's largest ships at London Gateway, I'm now looking forward to their arrival when the port opens in 2013."