Thank you for the request!
I can understand your concerns about your new job. Longshoremen tend to be a rough and tumble crew and they are not known for their patience. However, respect is not earned based on what you know but how well you listen and how well you treat people in the job. If these people feel you are an advocate for them and are fair, that will work far more powerfully than anything else. Seek to understand them first and get to know the job by asking to work in the different roles. If you cannot do that, ask to observe their work, and ask lots of questions.
Another step you can do to help yourself adapt is to learn all you can about the job. If you were not given a job description, as Human Resources or a company representative for one. Read it and re read it until you feel you know it pretty well. Also, research the company. Learn what you can about who you are working for and the individuals that run the company.
If there is a company base, familiarize yourself with the building and if possible the day to day routine. Meet as many of the employees as you can. If you happen to get time to spend with anyone, be sure to be friendly and relaxed. Psychologically, people like being heard and will gain the impression that you care about your job and them if you listen.
If you do find yourself being confronted know that most people, even professionals often don't know what to say. But follow these basic rules:
Aggressive people usually start by asking questions. They may ask with tone or attitude, but 98% of the time, they are going to ask a question.
Answer the questions to the best of your ability. Be truthful and honest. Above all things, maintain rational detachment which means that you keep your emotions out of the response. You may have to answer a lot of questions, twenty or more in some cases, but by responding in this way, you keep the person's emotions in check.
If the person becomes challenging, for example "you don't know anything about my job, what gives you the right to tell me what to do", do not answer that question but instead go back to the original problem at hand- what is the job that needs completed and how is it going to get done?
Always remember if a person gets extremely aggressive with you, that offering choices is the appropriate response. For example, "You can either move this yourself or get someone else to do it. Which one do you want?" The idea here is to give the illusion of choice even though there isn't really one.
Congratulations on your new job!
I hope this helped,