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Panama Canal and GUPC consortium ink deal

Panama Canal and GUPC consortium ink deal
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) the consortium building the third set of locks, after months of brinksmanship, finally signed an accord 1 August  that formalises several elements to be included in a ‘variation order’ within the contract for the completion of the locks construction.

The variation order includes in the contract that GUPC will have a moratorium until 2018 to repay the ACP the $784m advances made by the Canal Authority for the contractor to mobilise, set up the plant and acquire supplies and materials. GUPC commits itself to conclude the construction of the locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides by December 2015.   GUPC consists of Spain’s Sacyr Vallehermoso, Italy-based Salini-Impregilo, Belgium’s Jan de Nul and Panamanian Constructora Urbana (CUSA).

“The variation order agreed upon by both parties will serve as the framework to continue to work and reach functional completion of the locks project by end-2015," ACP Administrator Jorge Quijano told Seatrade Global.

The construction of the locks, the largest component of the expansion, was 73% complete at end-July. The overall project is 78% complete. The agreement does not address the cost overruns the consortium claims to have incurred in and these claims will continue to be managed according to the mechanisms established in the contract.

"GUPC expects this collaboration with the ACP will be fruitful and lead successfully to the completion of the works on time,” GUPC said in a statement.


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