Port of Charleston orders switch to lower-emission fuel

The following is a press release issued by the Port of Charleston:
(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — By the fall, every drop of fuel powering equipment at the Port of Charleston’s public facilities will be cleaner ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), reaffirming the port community’s commitment to cleaner air and cutting emissions by 10%.

 The S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA) and seven on-terminal tenants all will be using ULSD no later than September of this year, nearly two years before it is required by federal regulations.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that all off-road equipment switch to ULSD by 2010. 

Traditional low sulfur diesel meets a standard of 500 parts per million (ppm) sulfur content, while the ultra-low sulfur fuel used on SCSPA facilities must meet a standard of 15 ppm. 

Today’s announcement is the SCSPA’s latest measure to improve port-related air quality since signing a voluntary agreement with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) one year ago this week. 

The Ports Authority and seven different companies use fuel on the public marine terminals in Charleston to power on-terminal cranes, lifting equipment, buses, trucks, refrigerated container generators and other engines.  The move to ULSD is estimated to reduce particulate matter emissions from affected equipment by 10%. 

The upgrade is not without commercial impacts.  ULSD can be more expensive than traditional low sulfur fuel.  However, due to increased use and demand for off-road ULSD, the fuel is now available in larger quantities in the area.  Also, engine upgrades or replacements may be necessary to use the cleaner fuel. 

“We can achieve a cleaner environment while developing additional business in the Port of Charleston,” said Bernard S. Groseclose, Jr., president and CEO of the SCSPA. “Through these emissions-cutting efforts, the Ports Authority and other maritime companies are pledging their commitment to being responsible neighbors while continuing to support economic growth.” 

Other efforts to reduce air emissions at existing and future facilities have been successfully implemented, and more initiatives are on the way.  Over the past year, the SCSPA has reduced truck idling on its facilities and decreased truck trips on local roads, lessened construction impacts, retired dirty equipment, and purchased cleaner engines.

The announcement comes on the first anniversary of a landmark voluntary agreement between the SCSPA and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to reduce port-related air emissions.

Details on this agreement, and other steps to reduce air emissions can be found on-line at www.scspa.com/spa/news_statistics/news/pressroom/SPA-DHEC-MOA-3-26-07.pdf.


By Professional Mariner Staff