ACP Reaffirms Commitment to Panama Canal Expansion
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Jorge L. Quijano

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reaffirms its commitment to successfully complete the Expansion Program to fulfill its objective of offering a new era to world maritime trade.

“For the Panama Canal it is of utmost importance that the Expansion Program is completed to better serve the international maritime community and its customers,” said Panama Canal Administration Jorge L. Quijano.

ACP categorically rejects the pressures by contractor Grupo Unidos del Canal, S.A. (GUPCSA) in recent statements, which sole purpose are to force the ACP to negotiate outside the terms established in the contract for the new locks alleging over costs and demanding to be provided additional funds from those agreed in the contract.

GUPCSA, formed by the companies Sacyr Vallehermoso, S.A (Spain), Impregilo, S.p.A. (Italy), Jan de Nul Group (Belgium) and Constructora Urbana S.A. (CUSA) (Panama), is the international consortium in charge of the new locks project, one of the components of the Panama Canal Expansion.

To date, the contractor has not followed the claims and conflict resolution mechanisms established in the contract to support the claims.

“No matter what type of pressure is exercised against the ACP, we maintain our request that GUPCSA respects the contract that they accepted and signed,” said Quijano

The ACP reiterated that the only channels to process claims are clearly established in the contract. A third party decides two of the three methods established in the contract for the resolution of claims. These contractual clauses were accepted by GUPCSA upon signature of the contract.

The ACP also trusts that the contractor is able to comply with the terms agreed upon under contract. The contract includes guarantees that will allow completing the new locks. With 65% completion, the new locks project is at a stage that the construction may be completed with the mechanisms included in the contract, if needed.

Overall, the Expansion Program is 72% complete. GUPCSA has previously indicate that instead of completing construction on October 2014, as originally established in the contract, the new locks will be finished June 2015.

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