The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta delivered an address on Feb. 11 at the 2009 Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Logistics Conference in Dallas, Texas. In front of approximately 900 global logistics leaders, Mr. Alemán Zubieta highlighted the anticipated benefits of Canal expansion, which is progressing on-time and on-budget, and will help Canal customers to efficiently deliver products to consumers around the world. He also pointed out the rapid growth of Panama as the transportation and logistics hub of the Americas.
Slated for completion in 2014, the $5.25b Expansion Program will double Canal capacity by building a new lane of traffic. After expansion, a greater number of ships, including wider and larger vessels, will be able to transit the waterway, helping to improve the flow of international commerce and facilitate the movement of goods through several important markets.
Mr. Alemán Zubieta also provided an update on the ACP’s preparations to award the largest contract under the Canal Expansion Program – to design and build the new set of locks on the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the Canal. He emphasized the ACP's commitment to a fair, rigorous and transparent contracting process. The four prequalified consortia vying for the contract are Consorcio C.A.N.A.L., Consorcio Atlántico-Pacífico de Panamá, Consortia Bechtel, Taisei, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Consorcio Grupo Unidos por el Canal.
The next milestone of the process is the submission of consortia bids, due March 3, 2009. The ACP anticipates awarding the contract in the coming months, moving expansion forward for the benefit of retailers and suppliers around the world.