Panama Canal Work to Restart Thursday

A worker walks at the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project on the Atlantic side on the outskirts of Colon City January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A worker walks at the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project on the Atlantic side on the outskirts of Colon City January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

The Panama Canal Authority said that it has reached a deal with the construction consortium that will allow for work to resume on the third set of locks in the Panama Canal expansion project.

A statement late Wednesday by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said the new locks contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC), led by Sacyr of Spain and Italy’s Salini Impregilo, has accepted the ACP’s repeated request and has agreed to restart work on Thursday.

As part of the agreement, ACP will pay GUPC $36.8 million for December invoices to ensure that GUPC cancels pending payments and obligations to suppliers, the statement said.

Over the next 72 hours, the parties will continue discussions on points such as the dates for the delivery of the gates, an implementation schedule for the remainder of the works, a timetable of repayment moratorium and other key aspects for the project’s development.

The decision was made today during phone conversations between the ACP and heads of the consortium, but the ACP statement said there are still some issues on which an agreement has not been reached.

The news that work would resume comes two weeks after it was halted over a dispute over cost overruns, threatening further delays of the project.