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Port of Charleston Truck Upgrade Effort Gets $145,000 in Grant Funds

Pre-1994 Trucks Eligible for $10,000 Financial Incentive to Upgrade

Charleston, SC - The first-in-the-Southeast port truck replacement program, run by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), has received $145,000 in additional federal grant funding to help continue reducing related air emissions across the Charleston area.

Launched in the fall of 2011, the SCPA’s truck program provides truck owners who are frequent users of the Port of Charleston’s facilities a financial incentive to replace pre-1994 model trucks with 2004 or newer models. Eligible truck owners can get a $10,000 incentive, plus the scrap value of their pre-1994 truck, to use toward the purchase of a newer, cleaner truck.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has awarded the SCPA $145,000 from an EPA diesel-emissions reduction grant to continue the program. The grant funds cover half of the incentive for the program, with the SCPA funding the remaining $5,000 per truck.  

Importantly, the program helps make upgraded equipment attainable and financially viable for all truck owners, both companies and independent owner-operators. To date, 57 local truckers have taken advantage of the program to upgrade to newer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient rigs.

“It is important that we have both a vibrant port contributing jobs and economic opportunity as well as a healthy environment. For this reason, we partnered with DHEC six years ago to reduce air emissions by trucks and equipment here at our facilities, while we also supported international efforts toward cleaner fuel for ships that call our port,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA. “We are very proud to be considered a leader in the port industry in the Southeast for environmental efforts.”

"Half of all air emissions come from mobile sources. We are fortunate to be able to use this money to support a program that has a direct and immediate effect on the air quality in Charleston. Every little bit helps," said DHEC Director Catherine Templeton. "This continued partnership is an excellent example of collaboration to improve both the economy and environment."

The SCPA has committed to eliminate 85 percent of the pre-1994 trucks that regularly call the Port of Charleston’s container facilities by the end of 2013. In addition, newer equipment uses less fuel and is less likely to require extensive maintenance work, thereby reducing operating costs to the truck owner.

“At the end of this year when the port eliminates most pre-1994 trucks, it will have reduced diesel particulate pollution by 34 percent from its total cargo truck population in the local area,” said Nancy Vinson, who runs the SCPA’s truck replacement program. “Even as a conservative estimate, that is still a significant amount of emissions reduced, especially since trucks represent one of the two largest sources of port-related emissions.”

The truck replacement program is one part of the SCPA’s award-winning environmental program focused on improving air and water quality, preserving land and enhancing the local community.

Previous grant rounds of Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding have helped implement more than $5.5 million in various retrofits, upgrades and engine replacements to container-handling equipment, trucks, tugs and other marine equipment.

For more information on taking advantage of the program, interested truck owners should visit the truck replacement program office at Columbus Street Terminal or the mobile office at the Wando Welch Terminal each Tuesday.

About the South Carolina Ports Authority
The South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at more than $58 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy.  An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year.  For more information, visit