THE UNVEILING of a work of art in Newport yesterday marked a key date in the city’s history. For July 14, 1914, was the day the South Dock was completed, opening up Newport to ships which could enter the docks directly from the Bristol Channel for the first time.

This was a pivotal moment in the port’s development.

Giving some indication of its importance, the South Lock was officially opened by Prince Arthur of Connaught, the son of King George V.

Lord Tredegar’s steam yacht Liberty was the first ship to sail into the dock as on-lookers watched from grandstands.

The centenary was marked by pupils from nearby Pill, dignitaries and politicians and the unveiling of a mosaic outside the Seafarers’ Mission at the entrance to the docks. It was a day to underline how important the docks have been to Newport and to emphasise how important they still are to the local and wider economy.

From humble beginnings in 1842 with the creation of Town Dock, the port has grown to the vast operation that it is today, handling 1.5million tonnes of cargo, covering 685 acres and home to diverse businesses from metal recycling experts to timber importers and manufacturers.

And it is still developing, with owners ABP investing heavily to make sure the port stays at the top of its game. Newport Docks is one of our true success stories.