Southampton container port is to open on Sundays for the first time ever.

DP World Southampton will now operate seven days a week in anticipation of a surge of demand over the Bank Holiday and in the run up to Christmas.

The move is initially for businesses to play catch up during the four-day week but is also aimed at helping supply chain operators already gearing up for the festive period.

Traditionally August is one of the quietest for business, but the container terminal operator is encouraging customers to pick up cargo seven days a week as hauliers try to cram five days of deliveries into a four-day working week.

But the Bank Holiday also signals the run up to Christmas with a surge of containers arriving as retailers begin stocking up their shelves ahead of The festive season.

It will give customers a head start by opening from 7am on Sundays.

DP World Southampton operations head Steve McCrindle said: "By opening up for the full seven days for our customers, we believe we are providing more flexibility and opportunity to collect cargo which will assist the supply chain with their import deliveries.

"Traditionally there has not been the demand for weekend opening, but with the August Bank Holiday and the peak session. Upon us we will see an increase in volume and by extending our opening hours we can reduce the pressure on everyone in the supply chain."

He added: "often the container terminal feels the pressure of the bank holiday for a few weeks afterwards but it doesn't have to be this way.

"We are a 24 hour operation. We service ships 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so there is no reason why we can't service our land side customers too."

From Saturday it will open from 7am on Sundays and an extended three hours on Saturday's from midnight until 6pm.