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Work on Canal locks set to stop Monday
FRIDAY, 17 JANUARY 2014 21:55
THE CLOCK has almost run out on the ultimatum of the consortium building the third set of locks for the Canal expansion, with work due to stop On Monday, January 20.
Grupos Unido por el Canal (GUPC) on Thursday. January 16, reiterated its decision to halt work on the construction of the third set of locks Monday if the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) does not make a decision on its $1.6 billion claim for cost overruns.
The consortium sent a letter to the ACP yesterday stating that the deadline, originally established in a letter sent Dec. 30, is still valid.
Negotiations between the two entities have failed to resolve the dispute. GUPC has rejected offers by the ACP to provide advance payments to help the consortium's short-term financial situation.
The ACP has demanded that GUPC follow its contractual obligations regarding the handling of cost overruns, which involves the issue being resolved through mediation.
ACP Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano has also demanded that the consortium follow the contract with regards to stopping work on the project, which is allowed in only limited circumstances.
The letter sent yesterday to the ACP was signed by Bernardo González, director general of GUPC. Sources said it has complicated last-minute talks between the two sides saya La Prensa.
It also reflects problems between the consortium's two largest partners, Sacyr of Spain and Salini Impregilo of Italy.
Quijano has stated that, if GUPC abandons the work, it will be taken over by the ACP. He plans to meet next week with Zúrich International, which has a $600 million bond to fund the project should the consortium drop out.