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US-Asian team in running to build Panama Canal expansion

US-Asian team in running to build Panama Canal expansion

Panama City: A teaming of Asian and US companies is one of four global consortia that have been pre-qualified by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to build the future locks that will double capacity of the waterway, the other bidders all being Latin American or European companies.

Led by Bechtel of the US, the so-called Bechtel Taisei Mitsubishi (BTM) teaming also comprises Japanese corporations Taisei and Mitsubishi, as well as subcontractor Wuchang Shipyard of China to manufacture the lock gates.

Other contenders are:
o the CANAL consortium, led by ACS Serviciosof Spain, grouping fellow Spanish companies Acciona Infraestructuras and Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, Hochtief Construction AG of Germany and ICA Construction of Mexico;
o the Atlantic-Pacific Consortium of Panama, led by Bouygues Construction of France, teamed with fellow French companies Vinci Construction and Alstom, Bilfinger Berger of Germany, and Construcoes Camargo Correa, Andrade Gutierrez, Queiroz Galvao and Bardella, all from Brazil; and
o the United Group for the Canal, led by Sacyr Vallehermoso of Spain, with Italy's Impregilo SpA, Belgium's Jan de Nul nv and Panama-based  Constructora Urbana.

All four consortia now have until August 2008 to present their engineering and financial proposals, the ACP said in a statement. After that the ACP will decide in December 2008 which consortium will design and build the locks.

The total cost of the Canal expansion project is estimated at US$5.2bn, with the new locks expected to account for 60% of this figure.
Initial excavation work for the expansion began in September this year, while work on the locks is due to start at the end of 2008.  [18/12/08]

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