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ACP demands GUPC gets back to work

ACP demands GUPC gets back to work
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) issued a demand late yesterday that Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) restart work on the canal locks.

The consortium responsible for building the third set of locks, formed by Spaniards Sacyr Vallehermoso, Italians Impregilo, Belgians Jan de Nul Group and Panama's own Constructora Urbana, downed tools yesterday after negotiations over tackling a price overrun fell apart.

Work on the third set of locks, a crucial part of the canal's expansion project, had been running at 25% speed as discussions were held between ACP, GUPC and insurers Zurich over $1.6bn in cost overruns faced by the builders.

The deadline for the talks passed at midnight on Tuesday, with GUPC claiming that ACP broke off negotiations without an agreement being met.

In a short press release ACP administrator, Jorge Quijano, stated that ACP continues to try to find a solution, but stressed that the contractor must resume normal activity which is especially crucial during the dry season in Panama.

The dry season is critical to the delayed project as the dry weather allows construction to progress more rapidly.

"ACP continues to keep the door open for a reasonable resolution within the contract," Quijano added.