September 27, 2019

SCPA, DHEC receive $2M grant to improve crane technology

Cranes at Wando Welch Terminal will be upgraded with high performing, environmentally friendly engines. (Photo/English Purcell/S.C. Ports Authority)

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- SEPT. 26, 2019 -- South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) were awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant program to upgrade the engines of 12 rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes.

The EPA awarded the grant to DHEC, in partnership with SCPA. The funding will equip the Port's RTG cranes with hybrid battery/genset engine systems, replacing the existing hi-power diesel engines.

The new engines will reduce emissions of particulate matter, air toxins and nitrogen oxides up to 96% while reducing annual fuel consumption by over 100,000 gallons.

SCPA Chief Operating Officer Barbara Melvin said S.C. Ports took the initiative, in collaboration with DHEC, to invest in equipment that is both efficient and environmentally friendly. These RTG cranes are used to move and stack cargo boxes on Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

"Through a great partnership with DHEC, we have secured EPA funding to upgrade our 12 least efficient RTG cranes with high performing, environmentally friendly battery/genset hybrids," said Stephen Brisben, Mechanical Technical Specialist for SCPA's Heavy Lift Maintenance Department. "This aligns with our efforts to upgrade equipment to both improve air quality standards in the Lowcountry and enhance terminal operations."

2019 marks the 10th year of Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) projects funded in South Carolina. DERA funds have been used in a diverse range of projects across the Palmetto State to replace inefficient diesel engines and equipment and also promote the use of more environmentally sound fuels.

"For the past 10 years, the DERA program has played an important role in helping to reduce harmful emissions from diesel engines while simultaneously creating opportunities for economic growth and development in South Carolina," DHEC's Bureau of Air Quality Chief Rhonda Thompson said. "We are excited about this new opportunity to work alongside the South Carolina Ports Authority — an entity whose work is crucially important in supporting both our state and regional economies."

Through the DERA program, DHEC has partnered with state government agencies, local governments and privately-owned companies throughout South Carolina to reduce harmful emissions produced by the combustion of diesel fuel.

For the last decade, DERA has played an important role in helping DHEC carry out its primary mission of protecting and promoting the health of South Carolina's citizens and natural environment. A complete list of DERA projects funded in South Carolina is available here.

About South Carolina Ports Authority
South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 187,200 statewide jobs and generate nearly $53 billion annual economic activity. SCPA is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet, and the Port is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. For more information on SCPA, please visit