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Panama Canal expansion will be completed in 2015 “no matter what”, says minister

Thursday, January 23rd 2014 - 21:26 UTC
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The overall canal upgrade was supposed to cost 5.2 billion and finished this year The overall canal upgrade was supposed to cost 5.2 billion and finished this year

Work to enlarge the Panama Canal will be completed in 2015 no matter what, Panamanian Finance Minister Frank De Lima said on Wednesday, despite the continuing feud over cost overruns with contractor GUPC. The Panama Canal authority “has strongly affirmed that the canal would be complete in 2015, with or without” the GUPC consortium, the minister told the media on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), led by Spanish builder Sacyr, has threatened to shut down the project unless the government agreed to pay the unforeseen costs. But on Tuesday, the consortium proposed that local authorities help pay the 1.6 billion dollars in overspending that has threatened progress on a project seen as crucial to the regular flow of international maritime trade. The minster acknowledged that the proposal was made, but said Panama was exploring "other alternatives" in case the GUPC abandoned the project, though he refused to say whether other builders had been approached. "For Panama as well as for everyone, it is important that the canal enlargement work ends as soon as possible," he said. He added that ports up and down the North American coast were expanding to receive the jumbo sized ships designed to fit through the enlarged waterway. The overall canal upgrade was supposed to cost 5.2 billion. Already facing delays, the project aims to make the 80-kilometre waterway, which handles five percent of global maritime trade, big enough to handle new cargo ships that can carry 12,000 containers. Work on the canal began in 2009 with the goal of being done by 2014 to coincide with the waterway's 100th birthday. But completion was pushed back to 2015 after a first disagreement between the canal authority and GUPC over cement quality. In the current dispute, GUPC says it ran into costly overruns because the canal authority gave the builders the wrong information regarding the area's geology.

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  • Briton

    can we remind you of this statement in

    Jan 24th, 2014 - 02:07 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    You just know it's six of one and half a dozen of the other!

    Cement quality? What's that the Spanish builder will have said!

    Geology details, what geology details, it's been the same for the last 99 years the Canal Authority will have said!

    Meanwhile the Han are going to cut a brand new canal with all the trimmings that will make this thing obsolete before it’s “finished”, if it ever is.

    I see brotherly love is missing between these two.

    Ha, ha, ha.

    Jan 24th, 2014 - 05:17 pm 0
  • aussie sunshine

    *2 Ohhh!! the envy!! At least the Spaniards are building it and not The Brits who are too busy building dikes in Britain before Britain dissapears in flood waters....

    Jan 28th, 2014 - 01:56 pm 0
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