The contractor’s consortium that built the Panama Canal Expansion, Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), have claimed that they require USD $2 billion in additional costs and overruns.
In response, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has hit back with a statement that rejects the financial claims of the GUPC. The statement reads, “Without prejudice of the merits of these claims, the ACP rejects the admissibility of several of these new claims that GUPCSA submitted directly and without complying with the dispute resolution mechanism of the Contract, to ICC arbitration.”
The USCP were responsible for the construction of the new third locks, one of the integral features of the new canal expansion. There were numerous delays during the project due to budgetary limitations.
Panama Canal administrator Jorge L. Quijano said that “the ACP has been actively addressing these issues in the respective instances, as it has all the legal arguments and support to assert its rights.”
The ACP is tremendously displeased with the financial allegations made by the GUPC, and the dispute may even result in criminal charges. Panama’s National Bar Association have already filed a complaint against the GUPC and the association’s Vice President, Juan Carlos Arauz told media services that “we're asking for an investigation into the possible defrauding of the nation's resources”.
The ACP is suggesting that the GUPC are not following contractual arbitration regulations for dispute resolutions. The statement also says that “The ACP will file its answers and objections in the corresponding instances in due course”.
Last month (December 2016) saw the Panama Canal welcome its largest ship to date, The 10,589 TEU Valparaiso Express.