The S.C. State Ports Authority is ramping up efforts to promote more eco-friendly trucks that haul cargo to and from its terminals.

The state maritime agency’s new “Clean Truck Certification Program” requires trucks serving the container yards to be equipped with engines manufactured in 1994 or later.

Truck operators will have to register their rigs with the SPA by Jan. 1. Operators who do not register will be allowed to enter terminals just one time without the certification, said ports authority spokeswoman Erin Pabst.

“Once they enter, they’ll be provided with information about the certification program,” Pabst said.

For November, the SPA will also continue to offer an incentive of $5,000 plus scrap value to truck owners who agree to upgrade their truck engines to a newer model, Pabst added.

That continues the replacement program SPA launched in 2011, offering incentives for short-haul drivers who travel back and forth from SPA terminals.

Some of those diesel rigs that call on SPA terminals are several decades old and rank high when it comes to maintenance costs and emissions.

That prompted SPA to launch a replacement program, which ties in with an emissions reduction pact with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

SPA officials said program has received about $1 million between the two agencies. That has helped replace 84 trucks as of late last week, officials added.

The SPA is also offering a limited number of “hardship” registrations for truck operators who are unable to immediately upgrade their rigs.

“By implementing this program, we achieve a reduction in the air quality impacts resulting from an older truck fleet, and modernize the over-the-road equipment just as we are doing on terminal with newer equipment,” said Jim Newsome, chief executive officer of the SPA. “The Clean Truck Certification program is the next step in our well-established, common sense port-related emissions reductions strategy.”

SPA has announced several measures to reduce pollution at its facilities, including switching to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in all port equipment.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC