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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Friday, February 18, 2011

FedEx Ground plans Norcross facility

New site will be FedEx Ground’s fourth distribution center in metro Atlanta

Gov. Nathan Deal joined with officials from the Gwinnett Chamber and the city of Norcross today in a groundbreaking ceremony for FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., at the future site of its new distribution facility. The company will invest $55 million in the construction of this facility. The company’s initial workforce for the new facility is projected to include 240 full-time and part-time employees and 75 independent contractor opportunities, drawn from the existing Norcross workforce.

“As a global logistics hub, Georgia provides FedEx Ground with a high-performing, interconnected logistics infrastructure that helps the company provide the superior level of service to which its customers have become accustomed,” said Deal. “FedEx Ground will find Gwinnett County is a strategic home for its distribution operation as the company seeks to expand and thrive in Georgia.”

FedEx Ground’s Norcross distribution center will be a 215,000-square-foot facility on Atlantic Avenue near Jimmy Carter Boulevard. The facility is slated to open in the fall of 2012 and will feature the latest automated material-handling technology, designed to process 15,000 packages per hour, with the capacity to dispatch as many as 75 pickup and delivery vans each day.

“Enhancing FedEx Ground’s distribution capability in the Southeast is critical to increasing the size, speed and efficiency of our network,” said Robert E. Holcombe, vice president of the southern region for FedEx Ground. “This new facility is evidence of the Southeast region’s increased presence in the distribution and logistics business and the growing confidence of local shippers that we are their best choice for their ground shipping needs.”

As a key business hub in Georgia, Norcross was selected as the site of the distribution center due in large part to the community’s access to major highways and other logistics benefits, such as its proximity to the FedEx Ground’s customers’ distribution operations and an extensive pipeline of talent for this industry.

“FedEx Ground is a strong representation of companies in Gwinnett that are choosing to remain and expand in the metro Atlanta region,” said Jim Maran, President and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “Bringing jobs and capital to the community is a collective goal for Gwinnett and Atlanta, and we appreciate FedEx Ground and its contribution to our community’s vision and goals for the future.”

Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson added, “The fact that FedEx Ground chose Norcross for its consolidation and expansion is a reflection of strong partnerships from the city and Chamber to the Gwinnett Village CID and the state of Georgia. Norcross welcomes FedEx and we look forward to a future with them as part of our community.”

Georgia’s logistics and transportation network is one of its most formidable assets, supporting all industry in the state. Georgia’s advanced system of logistics enables companies to quickly and seamlessly reach domestic and international markets through interconnected airports, seaports, rail and roads. Companies in the state can reach 80 percent of the U.S. market within a two-day truck haul or a two-hour flight, and the port of Savannah is the fastest-growing container port in the country. This industry is a strategic focus for the state, and is uniquely backed by the Georgia Center of Innovation (COI) for Logistics, which provides the statewide framework, connections and university resources to address the constant challenges of a complex industry. As an industry-focused component of the Department of Economic Development, the COI for Logistics provides Georgia companies with industry expertise, information tools and assistance in creating new products and services to help fuel logistics competitiveness.

About FedEx Ground
FedEx Ground specializes in cost-effective, small-package ground shipping, offering dependable business-to-business delivery or convenient residential service. With a network of more than 500 distribution hubs and local pickup-and-delivery terminals, FedEx Ground has a workforce of more than 70,000 employees and independent contractors and 20,000 motorized vehicles delivering over 3.6 million packages daily throughout the United States and Canada. The company reported annual revenue of $7.4 billion in fiscal year 2010.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

UGA Report: Georgia forests provide $37 billion in ecological benefits to state

 A University of Georgia researcher has found that Georgia’s forestlands provide essential ecosystem services to the state worth an estimated $37 billion annually. This is in addition to the value of timber, forest products and recreation. This is the first time these indirect benefits of Georgia’s private forests have been estimated.

Rebecca Moore, an assistant professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, studied the 22 million acres of privately-owned forestland in Georgia to estimate the benefits of water filtration, carbon storage, wildlife habitat and aesthetics.

“People value these things,” Moore said, “but because they aren’t like other goods in that people don’t go out and buy them, it’s difficult to estimate just how much we value them. The purpose of our research was to do just that—estimate the value of the ecosystem services provided by private forests in Georgia.”

Moore’s study was conducted with funding from the Georgia Forestry Foundation. The findings of her study were announced at the state capitol on Feb. 9.

“We have had studies for some time that tell us what the economic benefit of wood and fiber manufacturing in the state is,” said Steve McWilliams, executive director of the Georgia Forestry Foundation. “This new study allows us to place a dollar value on those services we receive from the standing forests, and they are many.”

Moore’s final report, which can be found at http://www.warnell.uga.edu/news/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Final-Report-1-24-11.pdf, focused on six types of ecosystem services forests provide: gas and climate regulation; water quantity and quality; soil formation and stability; pollination; wildlife habitats; and aesthetic, cultural and passive use.

Moore and her collaborators—graduate students Tiffany Williams andEduardo Rodriguez and Warnell Assistant Professor Jeffrey Hepinstall-Cymmerman—analyzed Georgia forestlands by identifying key forest characteristics that affect ecosystem services and estimating per-acre values for each different type of forest.These values were estimated from survey data the team collected and from the results of previous published studies. What Moore found upon concluding her three-year study is that Georgia’s private forests provide an estimated $37 billion annual benefit to Georgia residents. The values can vary widely—between $200 to $13,000 per acre—depending on the location and ecology of the land, Moore said.

“Understanding the value of these benefits of forestland is important,” Moore said, “because it allows us to make better land use decisions. The ecological services forestlands provide are incredibly beneficial to Georgia, and you receive these benefits whether or not you own forestland. Many people think of them as free. But if we lose forestland, we risk losing these benefits.”

McWilliams said he hopes the results of Moore’s study focusing specifically on Georgia will result in public policy decisions that help us conserve Georgia’s working forests. “It carries a lot of weight when we can talk about Georgia forests to Georgia legislators and Georgia opinion leaders,” McWilliams concluded.

The Georgia Forestry Association is a conservation organization based in Forsyth. It works with landowners to adopt sound land management practices so that their forests will help provide clean air and water, soil conservation, wildlife habitats, recreation and timber products.

For more information on the Georgia Forestry Association, see www.gfagrow.org.

For more information on the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, see http://www.forestry.uga.edu/.

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