EMI Music has taken the step of outsourcing its distribution facilities in the U.K. to European logistics firm CEVA, which has struck a deal to take over the U.K. distribution of EMI's CDs and DVDs, with effect from the spring of 2009.

The development, announced today, means staff at the music giant's 16-year-old distribution operation in Leamington Spa in the Midlands of England have entered into a consultation process. EMI declined to comment on how many staff are affected.

Since it opened in 1992, the distribution center has provided "top quality service to U.K. retailers," EMI notes in a statement issued today. "However," the statement continues, "as the music market continues to evolve and to ensure that EMI Music always operates as efficiently as possible, the decision has been taken to outsource these services to a specialist logistics company."

EMI first partnered with CEVA to provide warehousing and distribution services in Spain and Portugal nearly five years ago. The relationship has since expanded to cover Germany, Switzerland and Austria. CEVA is recognized as one of the world's leading supply chain management companies, reported combined proforma revenue of €6.3 billion ($10 billion) in fiscal year 2007, and employing more than 54,000 staff.

CEVA was created in August 2007 through the merger of Australian logistics firm TNT Logistics and American counterpart EGL.