Friday, February 25, 2011

Shipping Industry Leaders Announce Clean Air Partnerships With Top U.S. Ports

/PRNewswire/ --The Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT) announced today that three of the nation's largest ports—the Georgia Ports Authority, the South Carolina State Ports Authority, and the Virginia Port Authority—have joined CRT as Charter Port Members.

This announcement marks the first time that CRT's membership has expanded to include public sector representatives, and will allow CRT to serve as a forum for ports around the country to collaborate with leading cargo owners, trucking companies, ocean carriers and CRT's partner organizations, including Environmental Defense Fund and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, to identify and implement best practices to reduce port-related diesel emissions.

CRT is a national coalition of importers, exporters, trucking companies and ocean carriers who share the belief that by partnering together, ports and their customers can improve the environmental quality of port communities while ensuring that the ports remain an engine for job creation and a thriving economy.

"CRT's mission is to develop public-private partnerships to solve air quality problems, and today's announcement is the next step in CRT's efforts to create a national venue to share best practices, build clean air partnerships between America's ports and their customers and service providers," said CRT President Rick Gabrielson, who is the Director of International Transportation for Target Corporation.

CRT's Charter Port Members share a commitment to environmental sustainability that has been demonstrated by their significant capital investments in air quality improvements across port operations and their development of innovative programs to reduce diesel emissions.

For example, through the Georgia Ports Authority's crane electrification, use of refrigerated container racks, rubber-tired gantry crane repower project and use of fuel additives, the Port of Savannah avoids use of more than 4.5 million gallons of fuel annually, resulting in tremendous emissions savings.

Curtis Foltz, Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, commented, "Our commitment to being a leader in environmental stewardship is a key tenet of our fundamental mission at the GPA. We look forward in working with the CRT to identify collaborative industry solutions to improve overall air quality."

The South Carolina Ports Authority's award-winning environmental program, its "Pledge for Growth," includes voluntary efforts to address land, air, water and community impacts of the port. For example, air projects range from crane electrifications and energy efficiency projects to more than $5 million in public-private, voluntary initiatives that include using cleaner fuels, installing cleaner engines and reducing emissions from four tug boats, 57 port stacking cranes, a dredge and more than 170 trucks.

"The Port of Charleston shares CRT's commitment to practical solutions for improving air quality, while also enhancing the flow of commerce," said Jim Newsome, President & CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. "We look forward to continuing our productive relationship with CRT and its member companies, delivering programs that make environmental and economic sense."

Jerry Bridges, Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority commented, "For more than a decade the Virginia Port Authority has voluntarily engaged in—and developed—diesel emission-reduction programs. The CRT is an industry leader in the development of clear-air programs that engage the critical players within the transportation logistics supply chain. It is that industry-wide influence and leadership that led the VPA to seek a charter membership in the organization."

Among its many environmental initiatives, in 2007 the Virginia Port Authority launched its Green Operator (GO) program, which is one of the first voluntary clean truck programs at a U.S. port. The VPA's dedication to this program, the cooperative efforts of the Federal, State and non-profit GO partners, and the support of Virginia's trucking industry have led to the replacement and/or retrofit of over 200 trucks within the last 18 months. The program continues to gain momentum, as currently 120 additional trucks are awaiting funding for replacement and "GO" is serving as a model for a larger regional program currently under development in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Today's announcement was made at the Retail Industry Leaders Association Logistics Conference in Orlando, Florida, where over 1,000 shipping industry leaders are gathered to discuss topics including ways to promote environmental sustainability in the supply chain.

CRT looks forward to additional ports around the country joining this partnership in coming months.

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