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Governor Phil Murphy’s administration is awarding $6.6 million to the South Jersey Port Corporation to support its on-going efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, operate more efficiently and be a better neighbor.

It’s all part of the Governor’s $100 million initiative to reverse the scourge of climate change by turning to clean energy alternatives and by 2050 to make New Jersey fully powered by clean energy.

The Governor is funding his initiative by leveraging proceeds from the state’s re-entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and money from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund.

With this $6.6 million investment, the SJPC will replace 23 pieces of older gasoline and diesel forklifts and cargo handling equipment with new electric-powered units and associated charging stations. SJPC aims to systematically convert all of its energy-consuming assets to zero-carbon within the next decade as suitable replacement equipment becomes commercially available.

“Our prime mission is the creation of family-sustaining jobs by attracting cargo through international maritime trade,” said SJPC CEO Andrew Saporito. “But as Governor Murphy warns us, there will be no jobs if we destroy our planet and communities in the process. Jobs are inextricably connected to how we protect our environment and shrink our carbon footprint to zero. We strive to make our operations cleaner and greener while also building the green economy on initiatives such as off-shore wind development.”

From steps as simple as planting trees in its host cities to beautify the neighborhoods while capturing pollutants and stormwater to switching out warehouse lighting from incandescent fixtures to LED lights and investing millions in improving direct ship to rail access, the South Jersey Port has been working aggressively to reduce its carbon footprint. Instead of retrofitting its vehicles – it now can afford to start converting its fleet from carbon fuels to electric.

The SJPC has become the cornerstone of New Jersey’s growing Green Energy Economy. Its unparalleled location combined with available land and warehouse space and an integrated network of highway, rail, and marine facilities provide the needed infrastructure to support offshore wind energy investments along the East Coast. Paulsboro Marine Terminal has already emerged as the prime manufacturing site for offshore wind turbine farms.

“Like our mission, this grant received the strong support from our partners in the state Legislature especially Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Assembly members John Burzichelli, Adam Taliaferro, Bill Spearman, and Bill Moen,” said Saporito.

Combined with being at the epicenter of the offshore wind movement in New Jersey, this grant award puts SJPC at the forefront of the clean energy movement. The Port is a prime example of how green energy can translate into good-paying union jobs.

Implicit in these new grants is SJPC’s commitment to sustainability and being a better neighbor.

“Camden Mayor Frank Moran, who supported this grant opportunity for SJPC, has been a great partner in our efforts to grow jobs and reduce our carbon footprint at our Camden facilities,” Saporito added. “As we work to build new jobs, we remain steadfast in our commitment to creating more sustainable port operations and we appreciate the Mayor’s support of these initiatives and we thank him and his administration”