Financial crisis doesn't affect Panama Canal widening project

Thursday, December 11 2008 @ 03:37 PM UTC

Contributed by: Don Winner

Xinhua - The head of the Panama Canal Authority said Wednesday that plans to widen the canal have not been changed because of the global financial crisis. Alberto Aleman Aleman told Xinhua the project will benefit the world economy for years to come. "The Panama Canal and the world have suffered recessions before. That is nothing new," Aleman said, adding the project has "all the support and guarantee" from financial institutions. Panama President Martin Torrijos said Tuesday during a meeting to sign loans worth 2.3 billion U.S. dollars for the canal project that it was not affected by the financial uncertainty. Funding for the project was given to the Panama Canal Authority by five international financial agencies. It is estimated that the project will cost around 5.25 billion dollars, of which 43 percent is to be covered by loans, the rest by user fees. The project, which started in September 2007, is expected to be completed by 2014. The 81-kilometer waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans was opened in 1914 but now is too narrow for large modern freighters. Source: Xinhua

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