Panama Canal Expansion - "A Train Wreck Waiting To Happen"
Thursday, December 01 2011 @ 12:20 pm EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Construction Delays: I have to be very careful in how I present these numbers, because my sources are concerned that someone might be able to figure out where I got them. Suffice it to say I was provided with some very specific numbers and data regarding construction schedules and projects, and the amount of work that was supposed to have been done by now, compared to what has actually been done and the speed of the advance of the work that has actually occurred. In order to mask the specifics I'm going to melt it down as a percentage - only 28% of the work was completed in recent months, compared to what was scheduled and projected. One of my sources told me "at this rate, for every day that goes by, they are falling another half day behind schedule." It's pretty simple. They have a programmed rate of work that needs to get done in order to deliver the project on time. However in fact they are only progressing at a rate of 28% compared to that schedule. So, while some work is in fact getting completed, it's not happening fast enough to meet their own projected time lines and schedules.
Cost Overruns and Idle Equipment: They also described how in some cases there is equipment sitting around and not being used because of mismanagement - there's no money to pay for the fuel. They described the management of the project as a "total goat rope, complete cluster fuck..." pulling no punches with regards to how things are actually going, on the ground, at the work site. My sources described how in many cases managers simply decided to dive into an element of the work without providing the proper education or training to the workers who actually have to go there to do it. and in many cases things are being done poorly (best case) or not to specifications (worst case). There is a potential for some kind of catastrophic failure at some point down the line. And it all comes back to one thing - mismanagement.
Corruption? I mentioned the current scandal involving the three Italian companies subsidiaries of Finmeccanica, compared against the fact Alemán has ties to CUSA and one of the companies in the GUPC consortium - Impregilo - is also an Italian company, the question was obvious. Is there any chance the same sorts of kickbacks occurred on this contract. They said "when this train wreck occurs - and it's going to happen, no doubt - it will make the Finmeccanica scandal look like kids playing in a sandbox."
Not The First Rumblings: Awhile ago I was contacted by another source who made very similar allegations. However I didn't really know that guy, nor did I have any way of validating what he was telling me. And in addition it was also much earlier in the process. Now the work is being done and it's possible to watch and see and count and know - they are falling way (way) behind projected schedules. And no one in the Panamanian media is talking about his. No body. In this case my sources are much better, trusted, and confirmed. They have no political reasons whatsoever to try to toss a brick under the wheels or anything like that. They have a genuine concerns over the way the project is being executed, the manner in which the work is being done in terms of quality, and they know without a doubt there is no way in hell the project will be completed without major cost overruns and delays. It's just a matter of time before this ticking time bomb goes off. And remember, you heard about it here first, when it all eventually goes down the crapper. The "big dig" comes to Panama. Wunderful.
Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.