Panama Canal Authority insists expansion to be completed on time

Mystery continues to surround the likelihood of the Panama Canal expansion programme meeting its April 2016 deadline after the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) on Thursday said it still expects that deadline to be met.

The reaffirmation of the party line came two days after the canal’s deputy administrator Manuel Benitez said the deadline was not cast in stone because of the contracting consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal’s (GUPC) failure to answer questions from ACP about cracks and leaks in the new third locks.

The cracks and leaks appeared in August during filling of the locks, which began on June 22.

On Thursday ACP dug in on insisting everything was assumed to be on track until GUPC delivered a satisfactory and comprehensive analysis and prognosis of the damage, its causes and solution.

The $5bn expansion project is intended to make the 50-mile canal ready for the new generation of mega-sized container ships.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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