Panama Canal Mulls Legal Action Over Construction Troubles

Monday October 12, 2015

The Panama Canal is considering legal action after recently discovered cracks in the concrete of one of the interior chambers threatened to delay the opening of the widened canal even further, Shipping Watch reports

"The designer has not delivered the necessary quality," said the canal's chief administrator, Jorge Quijano.

"We hope, and still believe, that the expanded canal will be ready to open in April."

The canal was originally slated to re-open in October 2014, but various setbacks pushed the date to April 2016, and Quijano has also staunchly maintained the 2016 date. 

He said that the repairs are expected to take three months, though the fact that roughly $1 million is lost for every day that the canal is delayed means that the matter is "something we're discussing with our lawyers."

Assuming an April 2016 opening, "we will have lost $450 million when the new structure is ready for use," he added. 

The group contracted to construct the canal, Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), has reportedly maintained that the cracks will be fixed within the three months.

Meanwhile, Ship & Bunker reported earlier this month that aerial surveys had begun for the proposed Nicaragua Grand Canal, which has been billed as an alternative to the Panama route.