US confectionery giant Hershey has today (5 October) announced a warehousing, transport and distribution alliance with Ferrero‘s North American operation.

Hershey said the venture was part of its efforts to “improve supply chain efficiency and enhance competitiveness”.

“The two companies will also work together to maximise corporate social responsibility efforts with the expectation of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption in warehousing and freight, with fewer vehicle journeys needed to move products to customers,” it added.

John Bilbrey, Hershey’s president and CEO, hinted at a wider collaboration between the two major players.

He said: “Ferrero is a respected international company with a portfolio of successful brands. Collaborative supply chain operations are a growing trend across industries as companies seek to fully leverage their logistics infrastructure. Although we are initially focusing on one region of our business, we are excited about the full potential of this project.”

Hershey said productivity improvements from the initiative will begin to be realised in 2012 and added that the alliance “does not encompass manufacturing, selling or marketing activities”.

In 2009, the two companies were at the centre of speculation over a joint bid for Cadbury. The UK confectioner was sold in 2010 to Kraft Foods.