SCSPA Completes Voluntary, Ground-Breaking Air Emissions Inventory

September 22, 2008

CHARLESTON, SC -September 22, 2008 – As part of its “Pledge for Growth” environmental initiative, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) today released the first port air emissions inventory ever compiled in the Southeast, continuing its ground-breaking voluntary efforts to promote environmental and economic stewardship.

“The new inventory, the first for any port in this region, will help us better understand both the sources and the scope of port-related air emissions,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., the SCSPA’s president & CEO.  “This is just the latest action as the Ports Authority works to do its part to improve regional air quality.”

The SCSPA chose to conduct the inventory as part of its voluntary cooperative agreement with the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) that was signed last year.

“The Ports Authority has stepped up to estimate its impacts and their actions have shown a commitment to continuous improvement,” said Myra C. Reece, bureau chief for DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality.  “This inventory supplements our air quality work in the Charleston area and can serve as a road map to future Port emissions initiatives.”

Also, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday selected the SCSPA as one of seven recipients in the region to receive emissions reduction grant funds.  The SCSPA, in partnership with three business groups, DHEC and the American Lung Association, applied for a two-year, $1.7-million project to reduce air impacts from on-road trucks and port container stacking equipment.

The air emissions inventory estimates the amount of air pollutants generated by activity through the Port of Charleston’s public marine terminals in 2005 and provides useful information on air quality for the Port of Charleston’s customers, environmental regulators and neighbors.

Moffatt & Nichol of Long Beach, Calif. assembled the inventory, which covers emissions related to ships, trucks, trains, harbor craft and cargo handling equipment all the way from the sea buoy outside Charleston Harbor throughout the tri-county region.

“As better jobs come to the Charleston area through port development at the former Navy Base, the Ports Authority remains committed to protecting the environment and being a good neighbor,” said Groseclose.  “We’ve accomplished much to improve air quality over the past 18 months, and this inventory will help us to focus our future efforts.”

Specifically, the new Baseline Air Emissions Inventory will:

 – Allow the community to more accurately understand emissions sources related to port activities, including their relative contribution to overall regional emissions.

– Establish a baseline of emissions for the SCSPA and the community to track progress over time as new technology and efficiency improvements are implemented.

– Help the Port, its customers and other transportation companies target future emissions reduction efforts.

An air emissions inventory is essentially an estimate of the amount of pollutants that a group of sources produces over a defined period of time in a particular area.  In the Port of Charleston’s case, the emissions inventory presents estimated amounts of five different pollutants in 2005: particulate matter (PM) smaller than 10 microns and a subset smaller than 2.5 microns, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), total organic gases, carbon monoxide (CO) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).

The key finding, as expected, is that trucks and ships constitute the majority of each pollutant related to port operations.

Port-related emissions today are already lower than the report’s findings.  Since 2005, the SCSPA has taken on numerous projects to reduce port-related air emissions, including:

  • Replacing diesel-fueled cranes and equipment with electric cranes and cleaner fuels. Just this spring, four giant diesel container cranes left the port after being replaced by all-electric models, eliminating their diesel emissions.
  • Along with nine other transportation firms, switching to ultra-low sulfur diesel with 15 parts per million (ppm) sulfur content, instead of fuel containing as much as 500 ppm. This voluntary move came more than two years ahead of a federal mandate for non-road diesel equipment.
  • Reducing truck idling, decreasing truck trips on local roads and lessening construction impacts
  • Being one of five U.S. ports selected for the national Environmental Management System project.


While the latest available inventories for the region indicate that port-related emissions account for 5% or less of total pollutants in the tri-county area, the SCSPA is moving ahead with other measures to reduce emissions.

“Everyone has a role in our region’s air quality,” said Groseclose, “and we should all do our share to keep our air clean.”


For the 2005 Port of Charleston Baseline Air Emissions Inventory and more information the SCSPA’s air quality initiatives, visit the SCSPA’s Pledge for Growth website: