Contributed by: Don WinnerPanama, Oct. 6 (Xinhua): At least 20 companies from eight countries have participated in the tendering process to win the second contract for the dry-excavation of the Panama Canal, official sources said. Firms from Canada and the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Italy and Panama have expressed interest in the preliminary process that concluded on Thursday. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said Friday that the representatives conducted an on-site inspection Tuesday and Wednesday. This is the second of the five contracts the ACP will offer on the canal's expansion, which involves the excavation of the 218 meter-wide trench linking the Culebra Cut with the Pacific coast. The contract will be decided on Oct. 31. The Panama Canal expansion project is estimated at a cost of 5.2 billion U.S. dollars and will be completed by the year 2014.