Boeing Co. has narrowed to two the number of sites for a new assembly line for the 787 jet, pitting North Charleston against the home of the commercial aircraft business. A decision is expected by early November.

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney cited strained labor relations between his management and the International Association of Machinists in Seattle area as one of the key reasons the company is studying North Charleston.

McNerney said the costs and "modest inefficiencies" associated with expanding in North Charleston rather than expanding the existing 787 factory in Washington state "are certainly more than overcome by strikes happening every three or four years in Puget Sound."

Done deal

Following months of negotiations, the State Ports Authority and its largest customer carrier announced an agreement reversing Maersk Line's decision to pull its ships from Charleston at the end of next year.

New SPA chief executive Jim Newsome delivered the news at his first State of the Port address. The new deal between the SPA and Maersk runs through the end of 2014. Maersk will remain in a dedicated part of the Wando Welch Terminal, though it will occupy less space. SPA officials would not share specifics of the new arrangement.

Ship shape

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum officials estimated it would cost more than $100 million to dry dock the Yorktown aircraft carrier and repair its deteriorating hull.

The Department of the Navy has given the state-owned attraction two options for dealing with the decommissioned ship: Put the vessel in dry dock so its rusting hull can be fixed, or submit a plan to dispose of the aging ship. Early estimates run between $100 million and $120 million. That figure does not include the millions of dollars in work that would be required to prepare the ship for a move from its longtime berth. The search for funding sources is on.

Energy bill

South Carolina will offer $3.9 million in rebates to consumers who buy energy-efficient appliances next March or April under a federal program. The state will offer $50 to $500 rebates at the point of sale for consumers buying Energy Star appliances, water heaters and heating-and-air conditioning systems. The state will set up a computerized system that tracks every sale so it will know when the money is exhausted. Once the funds are exhausted, the program ends.