• ITVI.USA
    15,999.700
    -30.820
    -0.2%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.805
    -0.004
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.190
    -0.030
    -0.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,985.320
    -31.230
    -0.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,999.700
    -30.820
    -0.2%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.805
    -0.004
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.190
    -0.030
    -0.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,985.320
    -31.230
    -0.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
American ShipperShipping

ACP: Expanded Panama Canal ‘inauguration’ expected in Q2 2016 despite delays

The Panama Canal Authority has yet to select a commercial opening date, but says it will be “soon after the inauguration” of the widened waterway following transit trial tests with a chartered vessel via the Atlantic locks in April.

   The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) now says it expects to conduct transit trial tests with a chartered vessel in the waterway’s Atlantic locks in April, 2016 and reopen the expanded cargo gateway shortly thereafter.
   The state-owned authority said in a press release Monday, “A date for the expansion’s inauguration will be then be selected, expected to be in the second quarter of 2016.”
   “Subsequently, the commercial opening date will
be selected. The opening will be soon after the inauguration,” ACP added.
   The authority said these dates came directly from Jorge L. Quijano, the chief executive officer and administrator of
the ACP, who revealed the updated timetable at an industry event in Panama last week.
   “We are very close — only four percent remains to complete the project,” said Quijano. “An expansion of the Panama Canal has never been done and we
should all feel very good about where we are today.”
   After a leak was found in August in a concrete sill in the Cocoli Locks, repairs were ordered, and speculation began that the expanded waterway would not be ready by its initial target date of Q1 2016.
   ACP said earlier this month the main contractor for the locks, the construction consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC) told it work to reinforce the sills in the new locks will be completed in January and yesterday confirmed the repairs are scheduled to be completed in the middle of next month.
   Testing of those reinforcements will follow, the authority said, adding, “The ACP is building the expanded Canal for the long haul, and quality and testing are critical. The ACP will continue to provide updates on the project as more progress and information is made available.”
   GUPC also issued a press release on Monday, saying it wanted “to clarify that the Consortium repeatedly has communicated to
ACP that April 2016 remains feasible as a functional completion date
thanks to the commitment and speed of work developed by the Consortium
after the situation presented with the leaks.
   “However, the time
to reach that date depends on the willingness and availability of the
ACP,” the consortium continued. “GUPC does, and will continue to do, all technical and economic
efforts to reach the date, but the conclusion of the work largely
depends on the ACP since, as owner of the work, it should prioritize the
solution of the administrative and financial issues, always under the
contract.
   “As it has been from the beginning of the project, ACP
continues to delay any payment awarded under the contract, limiting the
progress of the Project. GUPC is aware that the Government and
the international community are awaiting the starts of operations and
the Consortium continues to work unstintingly to meet project delivery,” the construction group added.
   The adequacy of the concrete repairs were questioned by the website The Panama News in an October editorial. The article contained a photograph of what it said were core samples that “are the product of a grossly inadequate concrete mix, not any lack of rebar.”

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.

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