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American Shipper

Panama seeking funding for canal expansion

Panama seeking funding for canal expansion

   The Panama Canal Authority is seeking $2.3 billion in financing before the end of the year to pay for expansion.

   At a Latin America Investment Summit organized by Reuters, Canal Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta said his agency is speaking to banks about a $2.3 billion package to help fund the $5.25 billion project.

   The news service said Aleman Zubieta did not think the financial problems growing out of the subprime mortgage mess would present a major problem, stating that the canal has good credit and that there is a 'flight to quality' projects such as the canal.

   Reuters said that on Tuesday, the canal awarded a $177 million contract to the Belgian firm Dredging International to excavate at the at the Pacific entrance of the canal.

   Construction of a third set of locks for the canal, the most expensive part of the project, is slated to begin early next year.

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