Two College of Charleston researchers have been awarded a $300,000 grant to work with the South Carolina State Transport Police to develop a real-time, inter-agency risk assessment and incident management system to monitor the transportation of hazardous materials into and across South Carolina.

Kent Gourdin, professor and director of the School of Business Global Logistics and Transportation Program, is the principal investigator for the grant. He will co-lead the project with Norman Levine, associate professor of geology and the director of the Santee Cooper GIS Laboratory and Lowcountry Hazards Center.

“We know that hazardous material moves into and out of the state by truck, ship, and rail, but we really don’t know what happens to it while it’s here or how long it’s in transit before it is either out of the state or dumped at a secure location in our state,” says Gourdin. “State officials should know the location and status of all hazardous waste transiting the state. This study will help to develop a tracking system with best practices that will be used here and also shared with other states.”

“This program will be an exciting collaboration between the Schools of Business and Sciences and Mathematics,” says Levine. “It’s an excellent opportunity for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to work on important real-world issues that impact the lives of all South Carolinians. The project outcome will also provide materials and best practices for use across the U.S.”

The three phases of the assessment and implementation project will be completed by July 2014.

Phase I will focus on updating the data presented in a 2003 project to better understand today’s operating environment and threats. Phase II will address the overlapping jurisdictions for hazardous material issues statewide, using Project Seahawk as a model for local conflict resolution. Project Seahawk is a collaborative initiative designed to bring multiple agencies together to protect the Port of Charleston.

Phase III will present recommendations and the final plan for implementation. The plan will include the development of a digital version of the Hazardous Materials Guide and a “Trucking 101” course to educate people on the motor carrier industry and how it handles such materials.

For more information, contact Gourdin at or Levine at