• ITVI.USA
    13,924.900
    3.330
    0%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.080
    -0.170
    -0.8%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,904.220
    5.970
    0%
  • TLT.USA
    2.650
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    0.060
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.190
    0.050
    2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.400
    0.180
    14.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.730
    0.160
    6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.440
    0.040
    2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.870
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,924.900
    3.330
    0%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.080
    -0.170
    -0.8%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,904.220
    5.970
    0%
  • TLT.USA
    2.650
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    0.060
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.190
    0.050
    2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.400
    0.180
    14.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.730
    0.160
    6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.440
    0.040
    2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.870
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

Strike threatened by Panama Canal construction workers

With waterway’s expansion now 93 percent complete, employees task with building the new locks are demanding wage increase.

   The union which represents workers for the main contractor in charge of building the new set of locks for the Panama Canal has threatened to strike.
   The National Union of Workers of Construction and Similar Industries (SUNTRACS) gave notice of its plan to strike to Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) on Saturday.
   On Monday a strike had not yet occurred, and the SUNTRACS notice was for this upcoming Wednesday.
   GUPC, a consortium of four large construction companies—Sacyr Vallehermoso of Spain, Impreglio of Italy, Jan De Nul of Belgium and Luxembourg, and Constructora Urbana (CUSA) of Panama—said the union wants a new annual wage increase of 8.9 percent, effective back to July 1, for 6,000 workers.
   GUPC said it has unsuccessfully met with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the Ministry of Labor in recent weeks to find a solution to the union’s demands, but without success.
   GUPC is the main contractor for the canal’s third set of locks project, which is currently 93 percent complete.
   The canal authority said in a press release that it has “repeatedly appealed to both sides to reach an agreement on matters that, by law, only pertain to dealings between GUPC and SUNTRACS members. The ACP, although the ultimate owner of the project, is in no way responsible for labor issues arising from any failure on the part of GUPC to meet labor demands by its subcontractors.”
   The canal authority said it is “deeply concerned about the situation and is following closely the developments on the matter as its business may be impacted directly if the work is not carried out efficiently and promptly to deliver the project on time.”
   In other news, ACP said Sunday that to mitigate the effects of the “El Niño” phenomenon, it will impose draft restrictions on ships transiting the waterway.
   The advisory sets the maximum fresh water draft at 39 feet, effective Sept. 8. The maximum authorized transit draft is defined as the deepest point of tropical fresh water immersion for each vessel in the Gatun Lake.
   El Niño, which results in periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean region, changes the pattern of rainfall across the world and has triggered a drought in the canal watershed, causing water levels in the Gatun and Alhajuela lakes to fall substantially below their average for this time of year.
   ACP said the draft restrictions are not expected to significantly affect the efficiency or capacity of canal operations, since only 18.5 percent of the vessels transit with drafts greater than 39 feet.

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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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