panama canal expansion

Panama and Building Consortium Reach Deal to Complete Expanded Panama Canal

Mike Schuler
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August 4, 2014

Photo courtesy Canal de Panama

The Panama Canal Authority and the consortium hired to build the third set of locks for the Panama Canal have finalized a deal for the completion of the expansion project.

The PCA and the consortium Groups Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) on Monday said they have reached an agreement to sign a variation to the original contract that incorporates objectives laid out in a Memorandum of Understanding signed in March that established the framework for the completion of the Third Set of Locks.

The MoU included a co-financing concept that would ensure the necessary cosh flow for the remainder of the project and provided a deadline for the project’s completion by the end of 2015, a year later than originally planned. The deal ended a long-standing dispute over $1.6 billion in cost overruns and halted construction of the new locks for weeks.

GUPC is led by Sacyr of Spain and also includes Salini – Impregilo of Italy, Jan De Nul of Belgium and Constructora Urban, SA (CUSA) of Panama.

The overall expansion program is currently 78% complete while the new locks project 73% complete, according to the PCA.

In June, Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano told reporters that Panama Canal’s new set of locks will be operational by the January 2016 after a labor strike unrelated to the cost dispute sparked fears that the project could be delayed even further.

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