Project Overview
Containerized cargo has fostered the rapid growth in international trade in this era of globalization. Seaports serve as critical gateways for this trade, but many U.S. ports are located in areas with significant seismic hazard. The damage caused by earthquakes and associated business interruption losses can have devastating consequences for the port and broader, adverse effects on local, regional, national, and international stakeholders.

This NEESR Grand Challenge project is integrating geotechnical and structural earthquake engineering research with expertise in port system operations and risk and decision analysis to develop a framework for seismic risk analysis of containerized port systems. Individual tasks are focused on:
  • predicting the seismic response and resulting damage states of key port components such as container wharves and cranes via large-scale experimentation and numerical simulation,
  • estimating the effects of damage to these components on cargo-handling capacity and the resulting impact on port revenues, and
  • mitigating possible losses via both geotechnical and structural engineering design and retrofit options.
The results of these tasks will enable port stakeholders to perform a comprehensive seismic risk analysis that examines losses due to property damage and business interruption. Such an analysis can help stakeholders gain a better understanding of their facilities' vulnerability to earthquakes, potential economic consequences, and possible benefits of investing in more stringent seismic design and retrofit.
This Grand Challenge project utilizes the resources of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a program initiated by the National Science Foundation to advance the field of earthquake engineering. NEES is a shared national network of experimental sites and tools, a centralized data repository, and an archive of earthquake engineering simulation software, all linked together by ultra-high-speed Internet2 connections. Together, these resources provide the means for collaboration and discovery in the form of more advanced research based on experimentation and computational simulations of earthquakes.

For more information please contact:
Dr. Glenn J. Rix, Director
Phone: 404-894-2292
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Dr. Reginald DesRoches, Deputy Director
Phone: 404-385-0826
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