Panama Canal Refutes Contract Claim

Tuesday, October 11, 2005
The following is a statement from the Panama Canal Authority.

Reports from AFP and Reuters from Madrid have given the impression that the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has awarded a contract for Canal expansion to the Spanish construction firm, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC). This is inaccurate.

The ACP has not made a decision to recommend expansion of the Canal. As such, no expansion contract has been awarded to any firm.

The ACP has an ongoing program of improving and modernizing the Canal through various ways such as improving the alignment and deepening the navigational channels to increase capacity, increasing visibility along the waterway to aid traffic, and other similar projects. This program is in no way connected with the expansion of the Canal. In August, to continue our efforts toward modernization, the ACP awarded a contract in a public bid to Corporación M&S Internacional C.A.,S.A, to improve the traffic visibility at the Gaillard Cut for $14.5 million.

This improvement project was approved in 2003 and was initiated that same year. A source from M&S informed the ACP that FCC acquired shares from this company. This may have generated the confusion on this matter. The ACP is requesting FCC to clarify the information.

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