Port of Savannah invests in emission-reducing hybrid cranes

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

The move is expected to transform the terminal into a state-of-the-art, all-container facility and improve its capacity to handle increasing ship and cargo traffic while significantly reducing its environmental impact.

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

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

In addition to significant fuel savings, the innovative cranes will reduce emissions by 50% compared to traditional diesel alternatives. This means an annual reduction of nearly 7,000 tons of emissions across the entire 55 RTG fleet.

GPA Board Chair Joel Wooten underscored the agency’s commitment to ensuring long-term sustainability and responsible development, noting that protecting the environment is a key component of its broader vision. The new cranes will also include “whisper” motion alarms, which will minimize noise pollution and ensure a quieter experience for staff and neighboring communities.

The hybrid RTGs are just part of the extensive renovation plan for the 200-acre Ocean Terminal, which includes the establishment of two large ship berths and the expansion of container stacking capacity. To service the larger ships, GPA will add eight new all-electric ship-to-shore cranes at Ocean Terminal by 2026, replacing three older cranes. When completed, the terminal will be able to accommodate up to six Neopanamax ships at the same time, with an annual capacity of 2 million TEU.

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is also playing a critical role in the project, working to control traffic around the Ocean Terminal and developing plans to minimize community impact. Susan Gardner, Senior Director of Operations and Projects, highlighted GDOT’s ongoing efforts to expedite the flow of cargo while preventing unnecessary traffic in neighboring areas.

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