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GPA takes steps to cut down on diesel emissions
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The Georgia Ports Authority Board approved the purchase of four electric-powered rubber-tired gantry cranes (ERTG) last week, which are expected to introduce a cleaner and more efficient method of operation.

“The purchase and electrification of these RTGs represents a very important milestone for the GPA,” said Curtis Foltz, GPA’s executive director. “In the future, we hope the new industry standard for the operation of yard equipment will be cleaner, shore-based power and not diesel.”

Foltz outlined to the Board last Monday that this initial $1 million investment will reduce fuel consumption, emissions and operating costs.

“We plan to retrofit the rest of our RTGs and make additional purchases that will bring our total number of electrified RTGs to 169 by 2022,” he said.

GPA Senior Director of Engineering Wilson Tillotson said electric-powered RTGs are more reliable than diesel-powered versions with less downtime. In addition, Tillotson said, fewer hours of diesel-powered operation will mean reduced maintenance costs. Required power infrastructure will be installed by fall of this year, with the ERTGs commissioned for service in October.

“Greater reliance on an ERTG fleet will allow the GPA to drastically reduce diesel consumption and continue our ongoing commitment to make substantial environmental improvements,” said Tillotson. “Reducing consumption and emissions is a powerful combination in our ongoing mission to be good stewards of the environment.”

The repower project will be accomplished through a change order to Konecranes, which is already constructing 20 RTGs for use at the Garden City Terminal. The four demonstration ERTGs will be powered through 480-volt bus bars that will be installed on the container yard. The ERTGs will operate at the rear of Container Berths 4 and 5.

The ERTG project is the latest in a series of GPA initiatives designed to increase the productivity and capacity of the port in environmentally responsible ways. Through efforts such as electrifying ship-to-shore cranes and refrigerated container racks, the Port of Savannah avoids the use of more than 4.5 million gallons of diesel annually.