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Panama Canal wins $265m arbitration claim against GUPC Consortium

Photo: ACP ACP-FIRST LNG-JULY 25-16 .jpg
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has won an arbitration ruling in a long-standing dispute between the ACP and Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), the consortium that constructed the expanded canal’s third set of locks.

According to the ruling by the Miami-based Dispute Resolution Board (DAB) on Friday, GUPC – excluding Panamanian CUSA that did not participate in the claim - will return a total of $265m to the ACP. The dispute is related to cost overruns in the construction of the neo-panamax locks which were inaugurated in June 2016.

GUPC — formed by Spain’s Sacyr, Italy’s Salini – Impregilo, Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urban, SA (CUSA) — was awarded in 2009 the $3.2bn project to expand the canal. However, due to the unplanned costs, GUPC claimed it increased to $5.67bn, claims which were strongly opposed and questioned by the ACP.

Both parties had separately sought international arbitration over a cement quality dispute. The Dispute Resolution Board (DAB) was formed to hear disputes arising between the ACP and the contractor and ruled in favour of GUPC in January 2016.

Two arbitration decisions covering separate disputes between the Canal Authority and GUPC still remain unresolved awaiting the DAB decision.

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