Crane and Wharf Damage Assessment

Following are Feroze Vazifdar’s first hand observations of the damage to the major terminals in Chile, supported by local consultants’ preliminary reports.

San Antonio

San Antonio has seven berths with six ship-to-shore gantry cranes.  Two of these cranes were damaged due to ship collisions.  Another crane was derailed, but has no significant structural damage, and was placed back on the gantry rails within a few days.  Some cranes had minor damage to the mechanical systems, including salt water damage to motors due to the tsunami.

The pile-supported concrete wharves performed well, and did not experience damage.  Minor pavement damage occurred at the interface between the wharf and backlands due to relative wharf movement.

The retained-earth section of the yard adjacent to the container wharves experienced liquefaction, causing damage to the pavement and rails.


Valparaiso has nine berths with five ship-to-shore gantry cranes.  No significant crane or wharf damage was reported at the Valparaiso port.

Other Terminals

A small terminal at Puerto Panul has two rail-mounted bulk unloaders.  One bulk unloader’s grab bucket was in the ship’s hold when the ship departed after the earthquake struck, causing the unloader’s upper structure to collapse.

San Vicente has three berths.  One of the wharves experienced significant relative movement of two adjacent segments.  Also, separation and movement of the pavement occurred.   In one location, the separation was as much as 22 cm and the cavity was 2.3 m deep.  The pile-supported wharf appears to have performed relatively well, with only limited damage.