Electrification at the Port of Savannah Increases Efficiency and Savings
The Port of Savannah, Georgia, is going through some major changes. Expansion is underway that is expected to contribute substantially to the local economy, and create environmental efficiencies and cost savings that build on previous efforts.
The Port of Savannah adopted electrified rubber-tired gantry cranes in 2012, marking the first North American port to use such tools and promise to cut fuel consumption by approximately 95 percent. “What you are seeing here is going to set a new benchmark for electrifying this type of equipment in the U.S.,” said Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority.
Over time, new cranes have been added and older cranes retrofitted. Based on early estimates, this technology is expected to save nearly 6 million gallons of diesel annually and net $10 million in savings after electricity costs have been met. In addition, the hourly operating cost of the port’s electric rubber-tired gantry cranes is about 85 percent less than diesel, and the port has also seen realized increased reliability from the electric new gantries.
To put this progress in perspective, the Port of Savannah is the largest single-operator facility in North America and the fastest growing.
The system developed at the Port of Savannah is credited with being a highly efficient “21st-century transportation hub that allows the flow of goods into this community and out of this community in an orderly fashion,” Pat Topping with Macon’s Economic Development Commission has said. Smoother commerce contributes to the strength of the local economy and growth in local jobs.
While this project is not expected to be complete until approximately 2019, the returns are already clear—both environmentally and economically. In fact, the Port of Savannah today employs about 15,000 people—a number that will grow as port business and efficiency grows.
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