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Port of Virginia Gets $14M in Funding for All-Electric Equipment

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By The Maritime Executive 07-16-2020 05:22:00

The state of Virginia is allocating $14 million in funding from the Volkswagen pollution settlement to support electrification projects at the Port of Virginia.

Under the terms of the award, the Port of Virginia will use $14 million in VW Trust funds and $10 million of its own funding to deploy two all-electric STS cranes at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). The new cranes will help NIT to move from a primarily diesel-powered operation to an electrified operation with electric and hybrid electric cargo handling equipment. 

The funding will also support the first deployment of all-electric yard tractors and charging infrastructure at the Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT). If successful, the technology could see future use at other terminals in Hampton Roads. The Port Virginia currently operates more than 160 diesel yard tractors.

In total, the project will permanently eliminate over 3,000 tons of diesel pollution, more than 71,000 tons of greenhouse gases and more than six million gallons of diesel fuel.

“We are pleased to be part of the next steps in building Virginia’s clean energy economy,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority. “These investments will help the Port of Virginia continue our efforts to reduce emissions, be good stewards of the environment, and provide world-class service to our customers.”

The state has previously used VW Trust funding to supply $20 million for an electric school bus initiative, $14 million to fund the deployment of electric transit buses and $14 million for the state's electric vehicle charging. In addition to funding for the port, this year's expenditures also include $20 million for local governments' electric vehicle projects.

“These are exactly the kind of transformational, innovative investments that we hoped the Commonwealth could make with the funds we secured from our enforcement action against VW,” said Attorney General Mark Herring, who helped lead the multistate investigation into Volkswagen. “These projects at the Port of Virginia will further cement its position as the premier facility on the East Coast."

The VW Trust is part of a settlement agreement that resolved allegations that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by designing diesel car emissions control systems to evade inspections. Volkswagen is required to establish a $3 billion environmental mitigation trust for use by U.S. states and territories. The trust has funded many American port projects, like the Port of Baltimore's replacement program for older diesel trucks.