A tribute to Michael A. Jordan

A tribute to Michael A. Jordan

Mike Jordan, one of the world’s pioneer designers of the first Ship-to-Shore container crane, died on 2 September 2023, after a brief illness. He was 88.

Jordan was the founding principal of Liftech Consultants Inc. in Oakland, CA. During his 65 plus-year career, Jordan provided engineering for thousands of container handling cranes worldwide, as well as wharves, floats, heavy lift systems, container yard handling equipment, and other complex structures.

He developed innovations that are now industry standards used worldwide, such as banded prestressing in concrete construction, wire rope dampers to eliminate wind induced vibration in crane structures, and fatigue tolerant structural details for cranes.

Jordan is listed as an inventor on several patents, in the US and Europe, for innovations in the transportation industry, for container ships, for port-related handling equipment, and even for improved construction of domed structures. In 2018, the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey inducted Jordan into the International Maritime Hall of Fame.

Considered as “a visionary dedicated to the industry,” Jordan was recognised for his groundbreaking work on the first dockside container crane in 1958 and in developing new structural designs that have impacted container crane design worldwide.

Jordan compared the impact of containerised cargo made possible by his Ship-to-Shore cranes to the Silk Road of 2,000 years ago.

“Then caravans of products were carried from China to the western world, and from the west to China, fostering the exchange of ideas and cultures as well as goods,” Jordan said.

Containerised shipping created a new Silk Road with continuous lines of cargo containers traveling East to the Americas and back; and, again, ideas and cultures were exchanged so extensively that we now live in the same neighbourhood.”

Erik Soderberg, President of Liftech, shared that: “Mike fostered curiosity and collaboration in his mentorship; his passion for excellence was contagious.”

Jordan is survived by his wife Sue, his life’s partner both in his career and at home, and by his three sons: Ken, Bill, and Alex, their wives, six grandchildren, and a recent great-granddaughter.

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