Potential Panama Canal Solution "on the Table"

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday January 22, 2014

Jorge Quijano, head of the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) says a financing proposal could allow the building consortium to continue its work expanding the canal, Reuters reports.

The Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), led by Spanish builder Sacyr, had threatened to stop work on January 20 over a dispute concerning a $1.6 billion cost overrun, but Quijano said it has pushed the deadline to the end of the month.

"There is a proposal on the table which the parties have put forward," Quijano said.

"It could offer a pretty long-term solution so work can continue."

He said insurer Zurich is looking at a proposal by GUPC and may try to play a role in resolving the conflict, and that the parties may meet again within the next week.

Zurich holds surety bonds for the project worth $600 million, which canal officials have said could be used to help finish the work if necessary.

Quijano said last week that the PCA could take over the completion of the project if the dispute was not resolved.