Panama Canal expansion works, one of the largest civil engineering works in history in which the Spanish Sacyr consortium participates, will open next May, as announced by the president, Juan Carlos Varela. “Around May 2016, our country will host a major international event when we open the Canal expansion,” said Varela during his report to the nation, upon completion of 18 months of government management.

Panama Canal expansion works – Gogetit Highlights

* The Panama Canal expansion project was scheduled to be inaugurated in October 2014.

* The Panama Canal expansion works officially began on September 3, 2007.

* The consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), led by the Spanish Sacyr and composed by the Italian company Impregilo, Belgium’s Jan de Nul and local Cusa, have been experiencing difficulties (both technical and budget) to finish on time the Canal works.

The proposed Panama Canal expansion project, also known as third set of locks, is a giant project to expand the Panama Canal. This enlargement will be the largest since the construction of the Canal. The Panama Canal Authority proposed the project after years of study. The Panamanian president Martin Torrijos presented the plan on April 24, 2006 and Panamanian citizens approved it in a national referendum on October 22, 2006 by 76.8% of the vote. The project plans to double the canal’s capacity and allow more traffic.

This expansion project, previously reported in Gogetit News, was emerging as a work worldwide. Despite the large number of companies and workers who have been part of this important work, it has failed to meet delivery times initially ruled by the Administration of the Panama Canal, because there have been problems such as strikes of union workers (SUNTRACS), budgetary differences between specified by the Administration of the Panama Canal and the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), among others.

However, in a recent press conference of President Juan Carlos Varela, he said that “Around May 2016, our country will host a major international event when we open the Canal expansion.”

According to Panama Canal manager, Jorge Quijano, sometime in the second quarter of this year the work will be completed, but he said that one thing is to inaugurate it and another one is putting in commercial service. The consortium led by Sacyr was awarded in July 2009, which represents one of the greatest works of engineering civil history, the construction of a new set of locks to expand the Panama Canal, for an amount of 2,300 million euros. In the initial contract, it was scheduled to finish the work in October 2014, which will accrue if the forecast holds Varela, year and a half late.

Moreover, the consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal, has announced that the Dispute Adjudication Board (DAB), a body of conflict resolution international contracts, has recognized their right to Canal Authority pay them 17.5 million dollars (16.12 million euros) by cost overruns and delays in the work that generated national strike and unrest in Panama in May 2014.

We will have to wait then for the outcome of the Panama Canal expansion works, which undoubtedly will highly benefit the Panamanian economy, among other things.

Silvia Merida Pellicer
Gogetit Content Manager. Author of important reviews for Gogetit News, “The #1 Source for real estate news in Panama.”
Specialized in the search and analysis of the most important news about real estate in Panama.