Piles and diaphragm wall-supported berthing structure on marine soils are loaded laterally from horizontal soil movements generated by dredging. The literature on the adequacy of the finite element method modeling of berthing structure to analyze their behavior during dredging is limited. This paper describes a finite element approach for analyzing the lateral response of pile and diaphragm wall during dredging. Piles are represented by equivalent sheet-pile walls and a plane strain analysis using the finite element method is performed. Results from the finite element method are compared with full-scale field test data. Full-scale field test was conducted on a bearing structure to measure the lateral deflection on pile and diaphragm wall for their full length using inclinometer during dredging in sequence. The finite element method results are in good agreement with full-scale field results. Conclusions are drawn regarding application of the analytical method to study the effect of dredging on piles and diaphragm wall-supported berthing structures. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.