BP slims transport
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BP OIL is radically changing its method of own-account distribution, but has rejected the idea of contracting out deliveries at present done by its own employees.
Operational changes include regionalised order taking and vehicle routeing, so that much day-to-day management will no longer be done at terminal level.
A spokesman for BP said on Tuesday that the company received a quotation for the work from a potential contractor, and considered contracting out. But the quote was used as a yardstick for making the supply and distribution system more efficient and cost effective.
Four terminals are to close in the re-organisation. Portslade, near Brighton, closed at the end of last month; Fulham and Gloucester terminals will close in June; and operations at Northfleet, Kent, will be transferred to the Isle of Grain by the end of this year.
In all, 117 white collar and 114 blue collar jobs will be affected. Few driving jobs will be lost, although some drivers will have to move terminal.
The moves will leave BP with 27 terminals, compared with 45 in 1976. They will be served by regional administrative centres in Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol and Hemel Hempstead, which will use the latest telecommunications technology to take orders and route vehicles.
As a separate issue the company is also talking with the Transport and General Workers' Union about a productivity deal and for the use of 38-tonners.
Contractors' hopes that major firms might contract out their distribution have been raised recently by the decision of Amoco to hand over its operations to Wincanton Transport.
BP's talks with a potential contractor have caused concern within the TGWU oil trades group.