Belgian Company Lowest Bidder To Dredge Gatun Lake Channel

Wednesday, June 02 2010 @ 02:52 PM UTC

Contributed by: Don Winner

The Belgian consortium Dredging International presented the lowest bid yesterday for the contract to dredge a part of Gatun Lake, which supplies water to the Panama Canal, as part of the program to expand the waterway, according to an official source. The consortium made a bid of $39.9 million dollars, beating another Belgian company Jan De Nul ($57.8 million), the China Harbour Engineering Company ($67.3 million) and from the Netherlands Boskalis International ($85.5 million), from the US the Great Lakes Dredge & Dock ($72.3 million) and from the Netherlands Van Oord ($97.9 million). The Vice President of Projects for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), Jorge L. Quijano, told reporters they would begin a technical and financial analysis of the proposals, as well as the requirements stated in the tender specifications, before finally awarding the contract set by the lowest bidder. "The project to dredge Gatun Lake is vital to ensure the passage of huge vessels to the new locks on the Atlantic, so we expect to award the contract to the winning firm within the next few weeks," he said. The main element in the scope of work for this contract consists of widening and deepening the existing navigation channel through the dredging of approximately 4.6 million cubic meters along the edges of the existing channel, in the extreme Northern end of the lake. This will allow for the passage of larger vessels, such as post-Panamax, through the Gatun locks as well as the new larger locks that are being built. The Canal expansion program, which ends in 2014, with an estimated cost of $5.25 billion dollars, will increase the annual capacity of the Panama Canal from 300 million tons to 600 million tons of cargo per year. (Telemetro)

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