More than 600 representatives from 222 companies and 34 countries arrived at Panama City's ATLAPA Convention Center for the Panama Canal Expansion Infoconference 2007. In the standing room only hall and overflow room, attendees awaited day one of the three-day event hosted by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) that will provide new information on all of the elements of expansion, including the bidding and contracting procedures for the project.
The informational session included presentations from ACP officials regarding design and construction of the locks, dredging, excavations and contracting processes. ACP Maritime Operations Director Jorge Quijano announced that the tender for the new set of locks design and construction contract will likely be let during the third quarter of fiscal year 2007 and fall under a single contract. In addition to the opportunities presented by Panama Canal representatives, Panamanian government officials provided information on local training programs, immigration, labor and tax laws and future projects in Panama.
ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta greeted Infoconference attendees, encouraging them to learn more about the waterway and the infrastructure work that will generate new opportunities.
In a historic move, Panamanians voted on October 22, 2006 to expand the Canal. Expansion involves building a third lane of traffic along the waterway through the construction of a new set of locks, which will allow more traffic and double Canal capacity. Expansion will tighten the global supply chain and help get goods to market faster, thus saving time and money for both producers and consumers.
The Infoconference will continue until Saturday with visits to both the Pacific and Atlantic work sites, and attendees had the opportunity to meet with local contractors.