The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reaffirmed its commitment to the international maritime community and its customers to successfully complete the Expansion Program, thereby fulfilling its objective of offering a new era of opportunities to world maritime commerce.
In the Advisory to Shipping (No. A-02-2014), the Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano stated that, “we would like to reassure our customers that the contract was well drafted and includes guarantees that will allow the completion of the new locks, even if the ACP needs to step in to assume control of the project and deliver it in the shortest possible time.”
“Our customers are our number one priority and we will seek to resolve this conflict in the best possible manner within the legal framework of the contract to ensure that the construction continues and that the Expansion Program is completed,” added ACP Administrator in the Advisory to Shipping.
ACP reiterated that the Panama Canal continues to function normally and the situation with a contractor relates to one of the projects in the Expansion Program and has no impact on current Canal operations.
Overall, the Expansion Program is 72% complete and at this time, is expected to be open to commercial transits in the second half of 2015.
In response to GUPC recent letter, the ACP stated that the arguments raised by the contractor in the note lack legal basis, are not clear and do not give any reasons for the contractor to suspend the work.
The ACP reiterated that the only channels to process claims are clearly established in the contract. A third party decides two of the three methods established in the contract for the resolution of claims. These contractual clauses were accepted by GUPCSA upon signature of the contract.
The ACP trusts that the contractor is able to comply with the terms agreed upon under contract. If needed, the new locks project is at an advanced enough stage that the construction may be completed with the mechanisms and guarantees included in the contract.
ACP, January 7, 2014