South Carolina Ports received a $1.3 million grant to support project partners as they deploy all-electric, energy-efficient trucks in place of diesel trucks.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant to SC Ports. SC Ports will facilitate the grant to project partners A&R Logistics and Benore Logistic Systems, Inc. with the shared goal of moving cargo more sustainably to significantly reduce emissions over time.

A&R Logistics and Benore Logistic Systems, Inc. will use the funds to replace a combined eight diesel freight haulers with new zero emission, battery electric-powered tractor trucks. When operating, the Peterbilt electric vehicles do not create exhaust or harmful byproducts.

“SC Ports is consistently looking for ways to make our operations more sustainable and efficient,” SC Ports Chief Operating Officer Barbara Melvin said. “The support from the EPA through the $1.3 million DERA grant, and the bold initiative taken by A&R Logistics and Benore to deploy the electric trucks, serve as a great model for companies looking to create a more sustainable supply chain.”

A&R Logistics will deploy one truck to move cargo between its new 615,000-square-foot export facility in Moncks Corner and the Port of Charleston; the other will be deployed in the Savannah area.

Benore will deploy six trucks in the Upstate to support the movement of cargo from BMW Manufacturing Co.’s plant to SC Ports’ rail-served Inland Port Greer.

This initiative will provide health benefits to the surrounding communities by reducing air emissions. Replacing older diesel vehicles with electric vehicles significantly reduces the amount of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions being released into the environment over a vehicle’s lifetime.

The Peterbilt electric vehicles will also showcase the efficiencies of zero-emission vehicles, such as reduced maintenance and vehicle repairs by up to 40% compared to diesel vehicles.

“The ability to move cargo with all-electric trucks significantly reduces emissions in the surrounding communities, which positively impacts residents and businesses,” SC Ports Permitting Manager Mark Messersmith said. “SC Ports is focused on improving air quality in the communities in which it operates through a variety of emissions-reducing programs, such as this innovative electric vehicle initiative. SC Ports anticipates that the efforts of Benore and A&R will showcase the benefits of these electric vehicle trucks and provide a catalyst for other trucking companies.”

In addition to backing from the EPA, the project also received support from the S.C. Energy Office, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, Charleston Community Research to Action Board, Dominion Energy, Town of Mount Pleasant and the City of Charleston.

Quotes from project partners

“Sustainability has become a core value at A&R and a guiding principle that influences much of our business. Partnering with SC Ports to expand on that is a natural move for us. We’ve become close allies with a common goal of increasing the volume of goods in-and-out of East Coast ports in a way that’s as environmentally responsible as possible.” — Alex Buck, A&R president, Global Division

“It is an honor to be awarded this grant, as it will help us reach our sustainability goals even faster. We have a great relationship with SC Ports and we are very excited to grow our fleet of electric tractors. This is just the beginning of the conversion of our fleet to alternative-fueled vehicles.” — Jeffery Benore, Benore Logistic Systems, Inc. president and owner

“With the industry’s most complete lineup of zero-emission battery electric commercial vehicles and comprehensive infrastructure offerings for customers, Peterbilt is leading the charge to provide clean transportation options.” — Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president

“The State Energy Plan encourages state entities to lead by example in adopting alternative fuels, and the SC Ports Authority and its partners are taking a step to do just that. The Energy Office is excited to collaborate with partners like the SC Ports Authority to showcase successful deployments of alternative fuels and bring future investments in clean transportation options.” — Sara Bazemore, director of Energy Office – SC Office of Regulatory Staff

“As a state health and environmental agency, DHEC supports new, innovative ways to reduce air emissions and improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians. This grant is exciting because it will have a direct impact on the surrounding communities. We look forward to keep working with the SC Ports Authority on improving the lives of our residents.” — Rhonda Thompson, P.E., DHEC Chief of the Bureau of Air Quality

“Freight operations continue to play an integral and expanding role in our region and along its transportation network. The ability to drive economic growth while minimally impacting our environment is a win for South Carolina Ports, the agency’s project partners and the community — one that should be applauded.” — Ron Mitchum, executive director of Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments

Source: Hellenic Shipping News