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Bachar Bzeih 01 Aug 2022

The History Of Beirut Port Silos’ Construction In Pictures

After the devastating August 4 explosion which decimated the city and largely destroyed the monoliths that stood over it, the Beirut Port grain silos unfortunately became synonymous with tragedy. Here is a look at the history of these structures.

The Beirut port’s now infamous grain silos were constructed between 1968 and 1970.

They were commissioned under the presidency of Charles Helou, financed by the state of Kuwait, and built by Czech company Prumstav.

The total capacity of the 42 silo cylandiners was initially 105,000 tons of grain, before it expanded to be 120,000 tons in 1997.

At the time of construction, the port of Beirut was managed privately by Lebanese businessman Henri Pharaon.

Costing nearly $2.8 million, the silos required 25,000 cubic meters of concrete and 2,740 tons of reinforcing steel.

Work on the silos was difficult, with workers sometimes working 30 hour shifts without rest.

Upon completion, the silos were considered to be an engineering marvel and an exemplary model of Chehabist state building.

Throughout the civil war and the many crises that followed, the silos stood strong as the world crumbled and changed around them. After delivering 50 years of uninterrupted service, on August 4, 2020, they would absorb a good amount of the shockwaves that were the result of a massive explosion at Beirut’s Port. The image of the crumbling silos became a symbol for that tragic day. After the explosion, repeated fires would plague the silos, which eventually led to one of their columns crumbling fifty-two years after their construction – on July 31, 2022.