Once food is dispatched from the depot it is shipped by barge, rather than road, which could save about 350,000km of road travel a year, reducing the retailer's carbon footprint.
This just one of a number of green initiatives that Sainsbury's is testing, which particularly focus on transport and operations. The retailer said it aims to reduce the distance its fleet and suppliers travel by 5 million km in the next three years.
Sainsbury's supply chain director Roger Burnley said: 'It's in our heritage to manage and reduce our environmental impact and using the Thames is an extremely efficient way of doing this. We take corporate responsibility very seriously and projects like this can contribute to how we're tackling issues such as energy efficiency and the transportation of food head on.'
The trial, which took place in February, convinced the retailer that the movement of goods on the river Thames, between its distribution centre and stores, is a viable option, provided the commercial riverside operations can be established.