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Port of Savannah Invests in Emission-Reducing Hybrid Cranes

Crane 237, a hybrid-engine rubber-tired gantry crane, works container stacks at the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal. Hybrid RTGs reduce emissions by half compared to conventional diesel cranes. Photo courtesy Georgia Ports Authority

Port of Savannah Invests in Emission-Reducing Hybrid Cranes

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1191
March 28, 2023

In an ambitious move towards sustainability and efficiency, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has announced a $170 million investment to acquire 55 state-of-the-art hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTGs) for the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal.

The move is set to transform the terminal into a cutting-edge all-container facility, enhancing its capacity to manage increased ship and cargo traffic while significantly reducing its environmental impact.

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch praised the investment as a crucial step towards maintaining the port’s world-class reputation while leaving a smaller carbon footprint. “These new machines will expand our capabilities, operate at lower cost and leave a smaller carbon footprint than conventional diesel cranes,” said Lynch.

The hybrid cranes will operate primarily on electric battery power, utilizing diesel generators only to recharge their batteries. This approach will reduce fuel consumption by an impressive 47%, saving around 500,000 gallons of diesel annually across the Ocean Terminal fleet and resulting in over $1.6 million in fuel cost savings per year.

In addition to the substantial fuel savings, the innovative cranes will cut emissions by 50% when compared to traditional diesel alternatives. This translates to a yearly reduction of nearly 7,000 tons of emissions across the 55-RTG fleet.

GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten emphasized the Authority’s commitment to ensuring long-term sustainability and responsible development, noting that environmental stewardship is a key component of their broader vision. The new cranes will also incorporate “whisper” movement alarms, minimizing noise pollution and ensuring a quieter experience for both personnel and neighboring communities.

The hybrid RTGs are just one part of the extensive 200-acre Ocean Terminal renovation plan, which includes the establishment of two big ship berths and the expansion of container stack capacity. To work the larger ships, the GPA will add eight new all electric ship-to-shore cranes at Ocean Terminal by 2026—replacing three older cranes. Once completed, the terminal will be able to accommodate up to six neopanamax vessels simultaneously, with an annual capacity of 2 million TEUs.

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is also playing a crucial role in the project, working on traffic control around Ocean Terminal and developing plans to minimize community impacts. Susan Gardner, senior director of operations and projects, highlighted GDOT’s ongoing efforts to expedite cargo flow while preventing unnecessary traffic in neighboring areas.

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