The Georgia Ports Authority has been recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a leader in reducing carbon emissions. The Southeast Diesel Collaborative (SEDC), a public-private partnership formed by the US EPA Region 4 office, named the GPA a Community Leadership Award winner.
“The GPA has voluntarily undertaken many projects to decrease diesel fuel consumption, resulting in improved air quality,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Some of those projects include our innovative eRTGs, or electric rubber-tired gantry cranes; the repower of diesel RTGs with variable alternators; and the retrofit of 11 switch locomotives by GPA’s partner Rail Link.”
In December 2012, the GPA unveiled its first four eRTGs. The GPA board recently approved spending $8 million for Phase II of the eRTG project, which will convert 10 additional diesel RTGs to electric power, and install conductor rails at 12 more container blocks. GPA’s transition to an eRTG fleet should be complete by 2024.
Foltz said greater attention paid to environmental stewardship pays off in financial savings and improved efficiency.
“Cutting diesel consumption means not only cleaner air, but also lower energy costs,” he said. “Better cross-terminal truck transit means less idling and quicker turn times, but also reduced emissions.”
In addition to the SEDC announcement, the EPA awarded the GPA a $600,000 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant to be used for a dray truck financing program.
The GPA won the Community Leadership Award on the basis of these technologies:
•eRTGs, developed with input from GPA engineers, use a retractable arm that latches to a conductor rail while the crane is in use over a container stack. When moving between rows, a diesel generator automatically starts at the end of one conductor rail, then stops when the computer-guided arm re-engages with the conductor rail at the next row.
•Twenty older diesel RTGs were repowered with funding by EPA DERA grants.  The engines ranged from Tier 0 to Tier 2 and were repowered to Tier 4i engines with variable alternators.  The variable alternators deliver power as needed, only turning the rpms required for the current load.
•The locomotive project retrofitted 11 switch locomotives operating on GPA terminals through an EPA grant to Rail Link, GPA’s rail partner.  The private entity retrofitted 1957–1978 locomotives with automatic equipment stop/start units to decrease idling.
“In order to broaden the impact of its environmental successes, the GPA has shared information on such projects with other ports, and will continue to do so as the industry pursues good environmental stewardship,” said GPA Board Chairman Robert Jepson.
For more information, go to www.gaports.com.