Leading retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers could soon be sharing delivery vehicles in an effort to improve logistics and cut costs in remote areas.

The Grocer has learned that a number of leading companies, including Nestlé, Coca-Cola, RHM, Walkers, Booker and Musgrave Budgens Londis, attended a meeting at IGD's headquarters in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, last month to discuss the possibility of sharing delivery vehicles.

In what was described as a "speed dating day", companies compared where they had partial delivery loads, where they wanted to deliver them and whether there was any available capacity to share vehicles.

Top of the agenda were deliveries to remote areas of the UK such as northern Scotland and the Channel Islands.

Chris Tyas, supply chain director at Nestlé UK and co-chair of ECR UK, a group formed ten years ago to create a more efficient supply chain within the industry, confirmed that Nestlé had attended the meeting. "There was a tremendously good response," he said.

A spokeswoman for RHM also confirmed that its logistics director had attended the event.

In October last year The Grocer revealed that ECR UK was co-ordinating a radical lorry-sharing trial in various cities that could see rival supermarket chains receiving deliveries from the same vehicle. The aim of the project was to slash distribution costs and reduce city centre congestion, but Tyas said that it was still too early to release any results from the trials.

Meanwhile, a proposed freight delivery scheme for West Sussex could be piloted in Horsham.

West Sussex County Council has decided to include a pilot scheme in its ten-year Transport Plan that would aim to reduce the impact of heavy lorries in town centres by delivering items to an out-of-town location. Smaller vans would then pick up the goods and deliver them to participating retailers in the town centre.

West Sussex cabinet member for highways and transport Tex Pemberton revealed that Horsham is a strong contender for the trial. He said: "We don't know where the pilot will take place yet, but Horsham is high on our list."