Southampton City Council has drawn up a short-list of operators to tender to run its Sustainable Distribution Centre (SDC), after inviting expressions of interest in the summer.

The council has been awarded £225,000 from a central government local sustainable transport fund to fund the SDC, which will serve Southampton, Winchester, Eastleigh, Hedge End, Totton and the New Forest.

The SDC will handle deliveries 24/7, grouping and delivering loads together as well as offering flexible and cheap storage.

The plan aims to emulate other goods delivery models such as the one in Bristol operated by DHL, which has reduced city-centre LGV movements by around 80% and cut 380,000 truck kilometres.

A viability report had established a case for an SDC in the Southampton area and the council had already had expressions of interest from firms and public sector bodies interested in using one.

Southampton’s cabinet member for the environment and transport councillor Jacqui Rayment said: “We look forward to appointing a partner in October and working towards a launch of the SDC over the winter.

“The new project will bring many ‘green’ benefits to the city and surrounding region through enabling businesses to have a more environmentally sustainable way to receive their deliveries into an area, whilst offering a cost effective storage solution.”

It is not the first time plans to to set up a consolidation centre in Southampton have been put forward.