DOCKSIDE residents have welcomed a boom in trade at Southampton port as the city's container terminal opens on Sundays for the first time ever.

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

Bosses stressed the plans will generate greater opportunities for freight customers at what they anticipate to be a busy end to the year, while residents hope it will boost the city's economic fortunes.

Those living close to Millbrook Road West duel carriageway - one of the main routes for HGVs and traffic for ferry ports - gave the plans a generally warm welcome.

Richard Cook, 67, from Regents Park Road, said: "We don't have problems with too much noise at the moment.

"But if the country needs these extended hours for business then we all have to suffer a little bit."

Amanda Barfield, 52, from White House Gardens, Millbrook, said: "It's good for the economy, but with more traffic there's going to be more pollution."

Kelly Crow, 33, from White house Gardens, Millbrook, said: "You already hear crashing coming from there in the early hours. Why can't they think about the people who live nearby."

However, Nasrin Ahmed, 43, from Regents Park Road, said: "It will be good for the economy and better for Southampton. The traffic around here is busy anyway and we have to expect it where we live."

Her neighbour, Reymund Gosney, 84, said: "It will be good for business seven days a week."

Don Daly, 48, who lives in Millbrook Road West, said: "There's enough traffic that comes along here as it is, so having more doesn't really matter. It is normally quieter on Sundays, but I won't mind."

The move is initially for businesses to play catch-up during the four-day week over the Bank Holiday period.

But it's also aimed at helping supply chain operators already gearing up for the festive period.

Traditionally August is one of the quietest periods 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 their shelves ahead of the festive season.

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

DP World Southampton operations head Steve McCrindle said the new hours provide more flexibility for customers to collect cargo.

He added: "By extending our opening hours we can reduce the pressure on everyone in the supply chain.

"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 have 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 Saturdays from midnight until 6pm.