HAMPSHIRE'S greatest living sailor has officially opened a new £100m berth at Southampton docks.

Sir Ben Ainslie, Britain's four-time gold medal winning Olympic sailor, ordered the loading of a giant golden container on to one of the world's biggest ships to mark the occasion.

Themed on the gold standard, the event highlighted DP World Southampton's status as the UK's number one performing container terminal, turning vessels around faster than any other British port.

The inauguration of the berth brought to an end one of the biggest engineering projects in the south; building a new 500 metre quay designed to handle the largest and deepest container vessels afloat and on order.

Sir Ben said: “As someone who lives here in Hampshire, I know how the port of Southampton is at the centre of the region's life and economy.

“So I am proud to be part of something that has such a big role to play in its future.”

Daily Echo:

After giving the order for one of the terminal's straddle carriers to pick up the special golden container from the dockside, the Olympic champion watched as it was then transferred on board the deck of the container vessel, CMA CGM Marco Polo.

DP World Southampton's managing director, Chris Lewis said: “The opening is a momentous day in the history of the port, with the 500 metre long new quay, the first for nearly 20 years, designed to ensure the port can continue to handle the very biggest container ships long into the future.”