Port of Charleston honored for green efforts

Charleston Regional Business Journal
Daniel Brock
June 28, 2010

The Port of Charleston has been lauded for its environmental efforts, which might leave rival maritime agencies feeling green with envy.

Charleston was one of five ports named to Inbound Logistics annual 50 Green Supply Chain Partners list, which also includes third-party logistics providers, air cargo carriers, expedited carriers, materials handling, ocean carriers, rail carriers and truckers.

The list was published along with a story in the trade magazine’s June issue. Criteria for selection included public-private partnerships, corporate sustainability initiatives and collaborative, customer-driven projects. From that base, Inbound Logistics also considered measurable green results and sustainability innovation.

The ports named to the list were:

* North Carolina Ports Authority
* Port of Tacoma
* Port of Los Angeles
* Port of Long Beach
* Port of Charleston

The magazine cited the Port of Charleston’s environmental stewardship policy, Pledge for Growth; the $12 million that the S.C. State Ports Authority has spent on land, water and community projects; and a recent voluntary overhaul of much of the port’s equipment, including container cranes, tugs and other harbor craft, as reasons for its inclusion.

Inbound Logistics editor Felecia Stratton told winners in a notice that the publication was looking for organizations that are “truly ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to commitment to supply chain sustainability.”

The S.C. State Ports Authority coordinated a public-private partnership last year that parlayed stimulus grants from the Environmental Protection Agency totaling more than $2 million into about twice that amount, with the money going toward reduction of port-related air emissions.

That helped earn the SPA an Environmental Justice Achievement Award from the EPA in 2009, and the Southeast Diesel Collaborative recognized the agency earlier this year. Pledge for Growth, meanwhile, won the 2009 American Association of Port Authorities’ Environmental Improvement Award and the 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Maritime Association of South Carolina, among others.

“In working with our partners and customers on a host of voluntary programs that save money and reduce impacts, we have demonstrated that environmental sustainability can be good for the environment and the bottom line,” Jim Newsome, SPA president and CEO, said in a statement.

Inclusion in the 50 Green Supply Chain Partners list continues a trend of recognition for the port and the SPA on the environmental front.

EPA assistant administrator Gina McCarthy came to Charleston in March to praise the port for its switch to ultra-low-sulfur diesel years before it was federally mandated, saying that it was part of a pattern of good behavior.

“The emissions reductions from these projects will have an immediate impact on the air quality in the Charleston area,” McCarthy said at the time.

She went on to say, “The things they have done say this is a port destined for success in the future.”

The Coastal Conservation League, a longtime legal rival of the SPA’s, was cooler in its response on Monday to the Port of Charleston’s green inclusion.

“This award, to the extent it is indicative of what the SPA may do in the future, is encouraging. But we have to recognize that the port of LA is reducing truck emissions by 80% (compared to Charleston at almost 0%),” Nancy Vinson, program director for the league, said in a statement. “This is only the first chapter in a much longer volume and will require the port to maintain a serious commitment, not just take one step.”

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