Posted by: arbeam | February 18, 2015

Manchester fuel depot won’t be privatized

Manchester Fuel Depot

MANCHESTER — The Navy can’t distribute fuel more cheaply by turning over its Manchester Fuel Depot to private industry.

Long-awaited results of a draft business case analysis found that Manchester provides “certain Navy-specific functions that could not be performed more efficiently by a commercial operation.”

That’s a reversal of what the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Center said a year ago, when it believed industry could meet Navy Region Northwest requirements at a lower cost. In a Feb. 6, 2014, fact sheet, it stated Manchester is primarily a storage site for jet fuel. With the Navy switching from military-only to commercial jet fuel, it would have more flexibility in how and where it procures, stores and delivers the product.

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, whose district includes the fuel depot, asked how the agency could know that industry would perform better before the analysis was completed. He welcomed the final results.

“This is good news,” Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, said. “The Defense Logistics Agency listened to the facts and decided the Manchester Fuel Depot should remain a Navy facility. This proves that the depot is still the most efficient way to get the Navy the fuel they need to conduct critical operations in the Pacific.”

The Defense Logistics said Manchester was among 89 supply chain facilities it routinely began evaluating in 2012 to ensure they were operating efficiently. It’s now studying Manchester’s optimal size, said spokesman Patrick Mackin.

The agency said it completed the draft business case analysis in February 2014, finalized it over the following few months and DLA Energy commander Brig. Gen. Giovanni Tuck visited here in May to discuss the scope and future operations at Manchester, Mackin said.

Manchester Fuel Depot 250Manchester is the largest underground fuel storage facility in the continental United States. It provides bulk fuel and lubricant to support military and government vessels of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It has five barges that are loaded at its 990-foot pier and towed to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island or Naval Station Everett. Destroyers pull in from Everett, aircraft carriers from Bremerton and Everett, and submarines from Bremerton and Bangor. Though nuclear-powered, subs still need diesel.

“I’ve always said we’re the best value at the lowest cost provider of services that they can find,” Schmitt said. “Now they validated what we’ve always said. “We’re glad for that, glad for the personnel here, the American taxpayer and the United States Navy.”

Kitsap Sun article by Ed Friedrich




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