The South Carolina State Ports Authority launched a voluntary program to help truck owners replace older trucks with newer, cleaner rigs on Thursday.
The Seaport Truck Air Cleanup Southeast program, or STACS, provides truck owners who are frequent port users a financial incentive to replace pre-1994 model trucks with 2004 or newer models
While Charleston’s program is the first to launch in the region, the SCPA is working with the Coalition for Responsible Transportation and the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a regional truck program that would cover ports across the Southeast.
Eligible truck owners can get a $5,000 incentive, plus the scrap value of their pre-1994 truck, to use toward the purchase of a newer, cleaner truck.
The program differs from clean-trucks programs at other ports in that it is voluntary. At other ports, such as Los Angeles-Long Beach, the clean trucks program denies access to terminals by trucks that are over a certain age, forcing port drayage companies to replace them.
The incentive for the STACS program is funded by the SCPA, along with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. STACS will help make upgraded equipment attainable and financially viable for all truck owners, both companies and independent owner-operators.
"Newer trucks can reduce operating and maintenance costs, while also reducing emissions. It’s a practical solution for improving air quality and enhancing the flow of commerce,” said SCSPA Executive Director Jim Newsome
According to a recent truck survey, about 2 percent of the trucks that frequent the port are 1993 or older model years. Based on EPA estimates, moving from 1993 or older trucks to 2004 or newer trucks will reduce emissions by about 60 percent. In addition, newer equipment uses less fuel, which reduces operating costs.
In June, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the launch of the EPA SmartWay Drayage Program at a press conference in Charleston. The drayage program is a partnership between stakeholders including major national retailers, trucking companies, port communities, environmental groups and the U.S. EPA to reduce harmful air emissions from port drayage trucks.