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A “successful” crane collapse

Global Rigging & Transportation has toppled a crane in Puerto Rico, exactly where SSA International wanted it.

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A “successful” crane collapse

US Based Global Rigging and Transportation (GRT) is well known for engineered heavy lifting, transport and crane modification projects. Unwanted cranes can sometimes find a buyer on the second hand market, but this particular crane was 37 years old and was estimated to have handled around four million containers over its life. Furthermore, the 90ft rail gauge meant the crane was suitable for only three terminals in the US: Savannah, Georgia, Philadelphia and San Juan, Puerto Rico, so the owner opted to scrap the crane.

GRT has completed over a dozen “conventional” demolitions over the years where a crane is dismantled piece by piece, and typically sold for scarp. At San Juan, Puerto Rico, however, crane owner SSA International was looking for a faster, more cost effective method, and contracted GTR to topple the crane by pre cutting in key places and then pulling the crane over using wire ropes attached to heavy forklifts.

GRT’s Dan Close explained to WorldCargo News that the company still considers toppling a crane a “controlled demolition”, requiring “structural analysis and engineering to ensure the safety of our crew, equipment and port operations”. To reduce the possibility of damage to the yard surface GRT recommended that the port dump three lines of gravel and sand under the main structural components (main girder, left and right legs) to absorb the impact loads associated with the controlled collapse. There is still the chance of damage, however, which the customer must assume the risk for.


As can be seen the crane landed exactly as planned, and SSA International President Dave Michou said the project was completed to its satisfaction. “It was gratifying to see GRT’s successful demolition of CMI #6. All went safely just as planned and on schedule. The "DROP ZONE" was outlined and perfectly executed. This was a very professional job by an obviously dedicated hard-working team of GRT technicians. There were issues that popped up on this project as usually happens, but thanks to the teamwork & cooperation between our companies everything was addressed promptly and satisfactorily to keep the project essentially on time & on budget.

“Speaking on behalf of the SSA International group”, continued Michou “we appreciate GRT’s conscientious efforts on this project. This has been a continuation of the cooperation and success on the prior projects where our companies have worked together. We look forward to continuing this relationship on the next few crane projects we have on our agenda.”

The crane will now be cut up and sold for scrap. The price of scrap varies considerably from month to month, and the location of the crane and logistics are a key factor in its value. If the crane needs to be cut into small pieces and shipped in containers, that cost has to be factored in. Dan Close said GRT may be able to recover US$200 per ton on the US East Coast if the scrap can be sold and shipped in large pieces, but on an island like Puerto Rico were there are no end users of scrap metal, GRT “may be lucky to get $50 per ton” after costs.

All images and video provided by Global Rigging & Transportation.

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