Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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Panama Canal expansion opening pushed to May 2016

The long-delayed expansion of the Panama Canal is now expected to be finished by May 2016, rather than April as previously announced, said Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela in the new year.

In a speech directed to the citizens of Panama, Varela urged the Spanish-led consortium behind the expansion, Grupo Unidos por el Canal de Panama, to focus on completing the project and to leave legal disputes to the "competent authorities," according to Agence France-Presse.

The comments came after an adjudication board ordered the state-run Panama Canal Authority to award the consortium $17 million for budget overruns and extra labor costs.

"I am calling on the contractors for the expansion project to hold dialogue with the Panama Canal Authority, to allow work to be completed, to leave legal disputes in the hands of the competent authorities and to avoid mediatized differences that in no way help the image of the contractors," the

Canal Authority and the Republic of Panama, AFP quoted Varela as saying.

The project is already behind schedule. Work started in 2007 and the goal was that the project would be completed by 2014, the centennial of the Panama Canal. The deadline was subsequently pushed back to April 2016, and now Varela’s recent comments indicate builders won’t finish the project until May. Some in the industry have speculated that the expansion may not open until the second half of 2016.

For more of the International Business Times story:

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