The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said it has ended talks with the new locks project contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC), through which a conceptual agreement has been reached subject to documentation, review and final signature by the parties.
The conceptual agreement falls within the terms of the Contract for the Design and Construction of the Third Set of Locks and does not include any payment for claims. GUPC’s claims must be process through the mechanisms within the contract. The price of the contract remains the same and is not modified by this agreement.
“We have reached a conceptual agreement that protects the interests of the Panama Canal, within the terms of the contract and respecting our position,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “The agreement is under review and pending signature; however, our commitment to Panama and our customers has been to inform these recent developments.”
“The Third Set of Locks will be completed within the terms of the contract, as requested from the very first day,” reiterated the Canal Administrator.
The conceptual agreement provides that:
- The construction of the Third Set of Locks is completed by December 2015.
- The 12 lock gates in Italy must be in Panama by December 2014, to be transported in staggered shipments.
- The Performance Bond for US$400 million may only be released to Zurich North America, to obtain financing to complete the work.
- GUPC will pay US$100 million and ACP will advance US$100 million, which will enable works to regain a normal pace in March.
- The moratorium for the repayment of advances may be extended until 2018, subject to fulfillment of certain milestones and other conditions.
The consortium GUPC is formed by Sacyr Vallehermoso, S.A (Spain), Impregilo, S.p.A. (Italy), Jan de Nul Group (Belgium) and Constructora Urbana, S.A. (CUSA) (Panama).
Pancanal, February 28, 2014; Image: Wikimedia