Further Delay for Panama Canal Expansion

Thursday October 31, 2013

The expansion of the Panama Canal has been delayed by another three months and is now scheduled to open for commercial transits in the fourth quarter of 2015, industry news site Seatrade Global reports, citing the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)'s third-quarter report.

The delay is the result of slower-than-expected electromechanical work on locks being built by Grupo Unidos por el Canal, the last set of which are now scheduled for delivery by June 30, 2015.

"The main change between the schedule of the completion which had the date of April 2015 postponed to 30 June 2015 for the Pacific lock is due to electromechanical works whose logistics and duration were reassessed and modified resulting in a further delay of two months," said ACP Administrator Jorge Quijano.

After delivery, testing of the locks will take an additional three months.

So far, 66 percent of the expansion has been completed, and the ACP has received $1.45 billion out of a promised total $2.3 billion loan from multilateral agencies.

The expansion project, originally targeted for completion by October 2014, had already been delayed due to problems with the delivery of the locks.

Traffic on the canal has declined as ship owners have deployed larger ships that it cannot accommodate, forcing them to use other routes, including traveling through the Suez Canal.