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Tuesday, July 29 2014 @ 12:47 PM EDT

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CUSA Wins First Canal Expansion Construction Bid

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, July 6, 2007 (AFP) - The first bid in a 5.2 billion-dollar project to widen the Panama Canal was issued on Friday to a Panamanian company, officials said. Minister of Canal Matters Dani Kuzniecky told reporters, "Today, with this bid, begins the project to widen the canal." Cusa won a 41 million-dollar bid to dig 6.7 kilometers (4.1 miles) of new channel in the 5.2 billion-dollar Panama Canal modernization to accommodate larger ships. The Panamanian company, formally known as Constructora Urbana SA, won out over 13 Asian, European and US consortiums for the right to move an estimated 1.3 million cubic meters (46 million cubic feet) of sediment and earth on the Pacific side of the canal. Work is to begin in 2008 and end in 2010. The overall plan is to build lanes and a third set of locks to accommodate the world's supertankers as well as larger cargo ships carrying 12,000 containers each, as opposed to the 5,000 containers carried by Panamax ships, the largest that can currently run the canal. The project, controversial for its environmental impact, is expected to take 10 years. The United States built the canal in 1904-1914 and administered it until 1999, when it was handed over to Panama. Some 14,000 ships annually use the Central American shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, avoiding the journey around South America.
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ACP Budget Approved for FY2008

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, July 02, 2007 - Numerous enhancements of and investments in the Panama Canal will move forward. On Saturday, June 30, 2007, the 2008 fiscal year budget for these projects, which includes investments in Canal service, reliability and efficiency, was approved by the Panamanian legislature. The ACP is an autonomous agency and its budgets are reviewed and given final approval by the legislature. Enhancements include ongoing investments in technology, new equipment and capital improvements. Moreover, the Canal's 2008 funds to continue the expansion program were approved. Expansion appropriations include, among others: funding the second phase of dry excavation of the new lane on the Pacific side, the widening of the Gaillard Cut and the deepening of the navigational channel in Gatun Lake. Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and wider ships. "These investments are the product of detailed analysis and evaluation to ensure that we continue funding the right projects to continuously improve and maintain Canal service. The business of the Canal is to ensure that we provide customers with a safe and reliable service. (more)
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National Assembly Approves $2 Billion Dollar 2008 Canal Budget

Canal Expansion By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - With just hours remaining in this year's regular sessions Panama's National Assembly approved the 2008 operating budget for the Panama Canal at $2.028 billion dollars. This level of spending reflects an increase of 29.4% or $460 more than the 2007 budget. Tolls from passing ships is the primary source of canal income, up $339 million compared to last year. Between 2000 to 2007 the Panama Canal has delivered $3.886 billion dollars to the treasury of the government of Panama, compared to the approximately $2 billion dollars paid by the United States to Panama during the 85 years that they operated the canal. National Assembly Deputy Tomás Altamirano Mantovani called this budget "the first budget for the extension of the Panama Canal," and said that with this budget the canal will finally start to produce the fruits that Panamanians have been waiting 90 years to realize. The 2008 budget contains $706 million dollars in upgrades to infrastructure spending. Some projects funded include plans to improve security, increase the production of drinking water, the execution of existing capabilities, as well as $352 million dollars to contract for the construction of two new sets of locks as part of the expansion project, and funds to start dredging.
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Panama Canal Expansion Spurs Environmental Debate

Canal Expansion By Lorne Matalon in Panama City for National Geographic News - Engineers have begun working on an ambitious but controversial plan to add a third shipping lane to the Panama Canal. The planners claim that the 5.25-billion-U.S.-dollar expansion, which will add two new three-chamber locks at either end of the canal, will have little impact on the surrounding environment. But local residents, mindful of the thousands forcibly evacuated during the original canal's construction, remain wary of such promises. The project commenced with reforestation of a buffer zone that hugs either side of the 51-mile (82-kilometer) waterway. Together with more efficient water pumps, the new forests are designed to keep the canal's locks full and flowing without the need for new reservoirs—even in the driest of years, according to designers. That's important because the canal watershed is Panama City's source of drinking water. Keeping the area's forests healthy is also vital, because of Panama's geographical importance as an isthmus linking North and South America. As a corridor for migrating species of birds and animals, Panama's habitats are vital for species such as jaguars and eagles that depend on such pathways for survival. (Related: 'Frog Hotel' to Shelter Panama Species From Lethal Fungus [November 2, 2006].) (more)
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Panama to begin environmental impact study on canal widening

Canal Expansion Xinhua - Panama's National Environmental Agency (ANAM) on Wednesday approved an Environmental Impact Study, for the Panama Canal Expansion Project. The project looks at earthworks and the leveling of the Cartagena Hill, which is needed to connect new Pacific locks with the Atlantic Ocean. The Panama Canal Authority said in a statement that the bulk of the work would affect Paradise Hill, northeast of the Pedro Miguel locks, in the Pacific area of the Canal. Cartagena Hill would be reduced to just 46 meters high and the removed material would be placed in a deposit named T6. Construction also implies a new 3.9-km stretch added to the Borinquen Highway, and the realignment of 4.1 km of the 230kW power line that links La Chorrera to Panama City. The Panama Canal expansion project is set to begin this year, and will continue until 2014 with a total cost of 5.25 billion U.S. dollars.
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Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board of Directors Meets in Shanghai

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, June 19, 2007 - The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board of Directors and Advisory Board met in Shanghai, China, June 11-12 to analyze the progress of expansion and other major projects underway at the Panama Canal. The Advisory Board plays an important role as the Panama Canal strives to best serve global trade and commerce. China is the second largest user of the Panama Canal after the United States. ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta briefed the diverse Advisory Board - composed of business, maritime and trade experts - on key Canal issues, while the groups discussed strategy and current trends in the maritime and shipping industries. The meeting was jointly presided over by Panamanian Minister for Canal Affairs and ACP Board of Directors Chairman Dani Ariel Kuzniecky and Advisory Board Chairman and former Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization William A. O'Neil. (more)
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Sustainability and the sea: Panama Canal – Navigating canal ambitions

Canal Expansion By Oliver Balch, Latin America Editor for the Ethical Corporation Magazine - The residents of Panama recently voted to extend their world-famous canal. It should bring the waterway into the modern age, if age-old public management problems don’t get in the way. The building of the Panama Canal makes for a murky tale. The French tried first. Their efforts collapsed amid an international bribery scandal. Then the US stepped in. While they got the waterway built, it took ten years and cost the lives of almost 6,000 workers. Now, more than 90 years later, the builders are back. Following a successful referendum in October, Panamanians are embarking on an extension of their world-famous canal. New three-step locks will be built at either end of the canal, allowing the canal to accommodate the many modern container ships that are currently too large to navigate the Isthmus. The project is scheduled to take eight years and cost about $5.3 billion. The benefits for Panama should be huge. If all goes to plan, the improvements will double the capacity of the waterway. Toll revenue from the increased traffic is projected to hit $6 billion a year by 2025, a four-fold increase on current levels. In a country where nearly one in ten is unemployed, the project could generate up to 40,000 new jobs during the construction phase. (more)
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Panama Canal expansion to begin August - official

Canal Expansion BALBOA, Panama, June 6 (Reuters) - The first stage of a $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal should begin ahead of schedule by the end of August, a top canal official said on Wednesday. Dredging works at the southern mouth of the canal on the Pacific will start in August instead of October as previously announced, Panama Canal Authority deputy administrator Jose Barrios said. The first onshore excavation works are scheduled to begin before the end of calendar 2007, Barrios told Reuters in an interview. Panama is aiming to build a third lane of locks to increase the canal's capacity and allow larger ships to travel between the Pacific and Caribbean. It hopes to have the third lane operational in time for the canal's centennial in 2014. The bidding specifications for the dredging would be ready next month, slightly late, Barrios said, but the bidding process would be short. "Even if we don't get (the specifications) on time we are going to get ahead of schedule," he said. He said bidding terms for the excavation work had been published and that more firms than expected had expressed an interest in the tender. (more)
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ACP Requests Proposals for Canal Expansion Program Manager

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, June 05, 2007 - The search is on as the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released last Friday its Program Manager tender (request for proposal) for Canal expansion. The ACP is seeking a top-tier firm with a solid reputation in program management, and with experience working on various construction projects around the globe. The chosen firm will assist the ACP in the management of approximately 10 major contracts, interfacing with both design and construction teams. The ACP Board of Directors approved the use of an integrated program management model, wherein the Authority will designate tasks between its own staff and the selected firm. "The selection of a reputable and experienced Program Manager is an important component in the success of the waterway's expansion," said ACP Engineering and Programs Management Director Jorge L. Quijano. "We are looking to attract a firm with global reach and proven experience in providing proactive solutions as we move forward with the program." Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double its tonnage capacity and allow the passage of longer, wider and deeper draft vessels.
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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Supports Canal Expansion

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, June 04, 2007 - In his first visit to the Republic of Panama and the Panama Canal on Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon accompanied by Panamanian President Martín Torrijos, emphasized his support for the historic Canal expansion and highlighted the importance of the transoceanic waterway in global trade. "This Canal has made a great contribution to the world trade and movement of the international community," the South Korean dignitary wrote in his message as he signed the guestbook at the Miraflores Locks Control House. Mr. Ki-moon toured the Miraflores Locks, where Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta explained the operations of the waterway and described various aspects of the ACP's plan to expand the Canal. Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a third set of locks, which will double capacity and allow the passage of wider and larger ships. "We are honored by the Secretary-General's visit and truly appreciate the support of the international community in our endeavor to expand the waterway and leverage the Canal's strategic location," said Mr. Alemán. "As the world becomes even more interconnected, our goal is to continue to provide efficient, safe and reliable service to our customers and to the maritime industry." (more)
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Business News Americas Interview with Cesar Gazoni

Canal ExpansionBy Stephen Wingrove for Business News Americas - The Panama Canal is one of the most advanced, high-profile engineering projects ever undertaken. For the first time since its construction in 1914, the canal's operators are planning to widen and deepen the 77km-long waterway to accommodate the new generation of ocean-going cargo vessels which navigate the world's seas today. BNamericas spoke to Cesar Gazoni, construction and trade director for Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Suriname at Brazilian engineering and construction giant Camargo Correâ. Gazoni is responsible for coordinating the company's participation in a consortium along with Andrade Gutierrez and Queiroz Galvão aiming to win the rights to restructure the ship canal. BNamericas: Could you provide an outline of the planned Panama Canal expansion project?

Gazoni: The expansion of the Panama Canal basically consists of a number of licenses on work for the widening and the deepening of the existing canal. There is dredging work and the construction of two locks to increase current capacity. (more)

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ACP Releases First Construction Project Tender for Canal Expansion

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, May 14, 2007 - On Monday, May 7, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) got one step closer to beginning its historic expansion with the release of the first construction project tender (request for proposal submission) for dry excavation along the north access channel on the Pacific end of the Canal. The Expansion Program adds a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double the tonnage capacity and allow the transit of substantially larger vessels. The North Pacific channel excavation, which will be located west of Pedro Miguel and locks, is the first of five dry excavation projects that will help link the new Post-Panamax Locks on the Pacific end of the Canal to the existing Gaillard Cut and represents approximately 16 percent of the total excavation for the new Pacific Locks Access Channel. The scope of work under the contract will include: the removal of non-classified material and disposal of excavated material at indicated locations, and the construction of new gravel roads and ditches. (more)
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First Major Canal Expansion Contract to be Awarded on 29 June 2007

Canal Expansion By Jessica Tasón for La Critica - The expansion of the Panama Canal is starting. Companies interested in participating in the bidding process have until 29 June 2007 to present their proposals to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) for the first contract for dry excavation of the new locks in the approach to the Pacific side of the canal. The ACP said the work consists of the removal of unexploded ordinance in dumping areas, building an access for electrical lines and to build a new highway, building another new access road of gravel and asphalt, installing grills and drainage culverts, removal and excavation of material in the area of Cerro Paraiso, and the deposit of removed materials in areas designated for the project. This work will all be accomplished on the West shore, between Paraíso, the Pedro Miguel locks and the Corte Culebra on the Pacific Side of the Canal. On 23 May 2007 the ACP will take those interested in the contract to the areas for them to be better oriented on the contract requirements. On 25 May the ACP will hold a meeting to explain the contract requirements. Those interested can buy a package describing the contract requirements on CD for $250.00
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Panama Canal Highlight World Ports Conference

Canal Expansion HOUSTON, May 3, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion project, once completed, "will impact the way transit will move in the future," declared Roberto Aleman Zubieta Thursday at the 25th International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) Conference being held in Houston. Aleman Zubieta, the CEO of the Panama Canal Authority, provided the world's port leaders with an update on the status of the project. Aleman Zubieta said the first of several major construction contracts to be awarded will be advertised on the authority's Web site next week. "It is more than just an infrastructure project," said Aleman Zubieta of the expansion that will be completed in 2014, 100 years after the Panama Canal was opened. The expansion will consist of dredging, widening and deepening of existing waterways as well as the designing and building of a third set of canal locks. The current lock dimensions are 110 feet wide and 1,000 feet long. The expanded lock dimensions will be 189 feet wide and 1,400 feet long. The current locks allow for a maximum 4,500-TEU vessel. The new locks will allow up to a 12,000-TEU vessel. (more)
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Panama: Can You Dig It?

Canal Expansion blog.nam.org - The Houston Chronicle profiles the business opportunities offered by the $5.5 billion expansion of the Panama Canal. Bids on the project will be opened in May. More than 600 people from 222 companies hailing from 31 nations attended a March conference in Panama to learn what contracts will be up for bids for this big dig. And officials from at least a half-dozen Houston companies were among the attendees. "Any major company out there that deals with this is going to be involved because it's a huge project," said Armando Deschamps, business development specialist of Houston-based Innovative Hydraulic Designs. "There's a lot of money in this." His company is interested in providing hydraulics for the canal's new set of locks. Deschamps and a Colombian co-worker attended the conference, touring the canal and meeting with potential partners interested in bidding for the project. Jim Wiehage, district manager of piling sales for the Houston office of Pittsburgh-based LB Foster Co., also listened to the presentations. He visits Panama several times a year for other business. "We're a supplier of steel, and there's going to be massive amounts of steel in this project," he said. U.S. business prospects in Panama -- investments that would create good jobs back here in the United States -- would be dramatically improved if Congress were to enact the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement.
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Consortium of local firms to participate in Panama Canal expansion bidding - Brazil

Canal Expansion By Stephen Wingrove for Business News Americas - Brazilian consortium Inter-oceânico is planning to participate in the bidding for works within the US$5.2bn Panama Canal expansion project, Brazilian press reported. The Inter-oceânico consortium is comprised of construction firms Camargo Corrêa, Queiroz Galvão and Andrade Gutierrez. The project is for dredging works and the construction of a third set of locks, which will have depths of 18.3m (60ft), allowing for passage of 50ft-draft ships and vessels of up to 12,000 TEUs, doubling the canal's current capacity of 330Mt a year, according to previous reports. "We can enter as competitors in almost all the lots. We won't compete for the dredging works, but in the other areas we have the experience and are eligible," Camargo Corrêa's northern cone director Cesar Gazoni told BNamericas. The Panama Canal authority (ACP) "will not ask the licensed companies to contribute financially," added Gazoni, who is also responsible for Camargo Corrêa's part in the consortium. International competition in the bidding rounds is expected to be fierce for what is considered one of the region's most significant engineering projects. It is believed that construction companies such as Vinci, Hochtief, Bilfinger, Bouygues, Bechtel, OHL, Dragados and Mitsubishi will present bids. (more)
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Germany, Britain, for Bigger Panama Canal

Canal Expansion Panama, Apr 18 (Prensa Latina) Top ranking officials from Germany and Great Britain visit Panama on Wednesday to analyze with the national authorities bilateral issues and the extension project of the Panama Canal. Germany Foreign Affairs Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, arrived in this capital last night and was received by Foreign Minister Ricardo Duran. The visitor will meet his Panamanian counterpart Samuel Lewis Navarro to tackle the association agreement with the European Union and Central America. Steimeier also emphasized the promotion of trade, investments and the construction of a third set of locks for the Canal, an initiative estimated at 5.25 billion dollars. Also in Panama is the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Secretary, Lord David Triesman who will also meet Lewis to tackle extradition agreements, technical cooperation and promotion and protection of investments. The British businessmen are interested in the extension of Panama Canal, in the maritime sector, logistics, transportation and telecommunications, added the text.
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ACP Selects Shearman & Sterling LLP as Legal Advisor for Canal Expansion

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, April 9, 2007 - The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced today that it has selected Shearman & Sterling LLP as its international legal advisor for its expansion financing needs. The top-tier global firm will work closely with the ACP and its financial advisor, Mizuho Corporate Bank, to determine the most advantageous financing options for the ACP. The decision followed an evaluation of proposals frm several world-class firms specializing in the financing of international infrastructure projects. Shearman & Sterling joins Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, the law firm selected to advise the ACP in the procurement and contracting aspects for the Expansion Program. "Shearman & Sterling distinguishes itself as a market leader in infrastructure financing," said ACP Engineering and Programs Management Director Jorge Quijano. "Shearman & Sterling's project development and finance group enjoys a strong global reputation, especially in Latin America. We look forward to working with them as we develop the best plan to satisfy the ACP's financing needs." The significance of the Panama Canal and its function in the global supply chain becomes increasingly important as the world becomes more interconnected. The waterway lies within a critical area where trade routes intersect. (more)
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The Expansion of the Panama Canal

Canal Expansion On 22 October 2006 the citizens of Panama voted to expand the Panama Canal to allow for more transits and bigger ships. The Panama Canal Authority has started to execute the project and is following a comprehensive plan that will take eight years to complete at a cost of $5.25 billion dollars. While this is a subject of tremendous importance to the Republic of Panama and its people, the international maritime industry will benefit directly from the expansion through lower shipping costs, and global consumers will eventually benefit from the greater capacity and efficiency of the Panama Canal. The articles in this section document the details of the construction of the Panama Canal expansion project as it is executed. Articles are added to this section as with the most recent information on top and older articles pushed toward down and into the following pages. If you require additional information about this subject or anything else about the Republic of Panama please take advantage of our search engine. And if you still can't find what you're looking for we also take requests! Welcome aboard, and please remember to tell your friends about Panama-Guide.com, the #1 English Language Website about the Republic of Panama.
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Panama Canal - the Great Meeting Place

Canal Expansion By by Nancy Knudsen for sail.world.com - 'Jittery Skipper' There’s a constant buzz in the air in this huge harbour on the eastern side of the Panama Canal - the grand meeting place of everything from giant container ships to tiny sailing boats. Unless you are prepared to round Cape Horn the ‘wrong way’ against the wind and currents, then there’s no escape – transit the Panama Canal you must! You can easily recognise the boats on the verge of going through – their skippers are chewing their fingernails, there are four husky extra crew on board, and they are garlanded with old car tyres, protection from a potential collision with the concrete wall of a lock. (The Canal also collects US$850 security in case we scratch their concrete) . We wave goodbye daily to these boats as you would to someone off to the dentist (glad it’s not MY turn) – ‘Bye, bye, have fun!’ we shout insincerely. For yachts intending to cross the Pacific, this is the season to be commencing the voyage, before the winds turn westerly, usually in May. However, the route to the Galapagos falls right across the path of the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone, or the Doldrums), so the balancing act is to try to wait for it to move north, which it is also supposed to do about this time of year) without delaying so long you get the westerly winds. Sound complicated? If you get wrong you just might have to motor for 1000 miles! (more)
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Firms Eye Billions in Expansion Work at Panama Canal

Canal Expansion By C.J. Schexnayder in Panama for ENR.com - Global interest is strong in Panama Canal's $5-billion expansion. The Panama Canal Authority on March 9 provided a rough bid timeline for the $5.2-billion expansion of the canal. The contracts will include dredging on both ends, dry excavation of the new Pacific-side channel and two new sets of locks. The authority plans to award a project management contract by May. Some 600 representatives from 222 firms and 34 countries attended the three-day Panama City conference. But the authority’s maritime operations director, Jorge Quijano, noted that the information presented was not legally binding since it was not part of the formal bid process. A $5.2-billion expansion of the 50-mile-long waterway was green-lighted by voters last year. The whole project is to be completed by 2014, just in time for the canal’s 100th birthday. The canal, currently operating at about 94% capacity, cannot currently handle post-Panamax ships that are up to 55 meters across and 427 m long. The expansion program kicked into high gear in recent weeks following the approval of a new toll structure by the canal authority’s board of directors in February. The new toll will take effect following an open consultation process expected to last through March. (more)
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Panama Canal May Resist Shipowner Calls to Delay Toll Increase

Canal Expansion By Grant Smith (Bloomberg) -- The Panama Canal will probably resist calls from shipping lines to spread out proposed toll increases, threatening profits for companies such as A.P. Moeller Maersk and Evergreen Marine Corp., analysts said. The Panama Canal Authority, or ACP, has received 21 submissions from companies and groups seeking to reduce or delay the new tariff system, according to its Web site. The authority plans to raise fees by as much as 47 percent over three years to pay for expanding the 92-year-old waterway, the world's busiest, handling about 5 percent of global trade. Evergreen Marine Corp., CMA CGM SA and Wallenius AB are among owners who presented to the authority last week, according to the London-based International Chamber of Shipping. Higher fees may further hurt container lines currently experiencing low rates as a result of surplus ship supplies. ``I don't think they'll have any success,'' said Steven Brooker, an analyst in Copenhagen covering Maersk, the world's biggest shipping company. ``The canal authority would want to have the cash so that they can pay for the expansion, so why would they take the risk'' of waiting any longer, he said. (more)
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At the Panama Canal, Alarm Bells Sound Over Toll Increase

Canal Expansion ENR.com - As the Panama Canal Authority moves forward with its ambitious $5.25-billion plan to upgrade the historic waterway, there are growing concerns about who will pay for the project. On Wednesday, authority — known by its Spanish-language acronym, ACP — held a public hearing Panama concerning the proposal to restructure the Panama Canal's pricing system and certain regulations. The authority's board of directors approved the new tolls last month and it will be submitted to the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama for approval in the next few weeks. But the representatives of shipping companies that attended the hearing voiced a strong displeasure at the increases, which work out to an average increase of 10 per cent per year for three years. The Singapore Shipping Association, which represents close to 300 members of Singapore's shipowning and wider shipping community, urged the canal authority to rethink the toll increase and to spread it over a "more realistic timeframe." "Such an increase will only exacerbate the current economic pressure which the shipping industry is currently facing and could have negative and unacceptable consequences on the world economy," said the association's president S.S. Teo in a statement released immediately after the hearing. He said the shipping industry is alarmed at the decision to double tolls in the next 20 years, a move that, "fails to answer industry concerns about an equitable distribution of costs between current and future users, and raises questions about the direction of toll increases in the longer term." (more)
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Singapore shipping blasts Panama Canal charges

Canal Expansion (Shipping Times) - Increases in rates could have negative consequences on world economy says SSA. The Singapore Shipping Association has formally prepared a submission to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) concerning its proposal to modify the rules and pricing system for vessels passing through the Panama Canal. The background to this issue stems from a Panamanian referendum in October 2006, where approval was granted for the Panama Canal Authority to expand the Panama Canal through the construction of a third set of locks. Work on the new locks is expected to start in 2007 at an estimated cost of US$5.25 billion, to be funded by graduated toll increases. The ACP had assured the maritime industry that the project – which is expected to conclude by 2014 – will not disrupt traffic through the present Canal. In February 2007, the ACP published the new toll proposals to finance the expansion of the Canal. According to the ACP proposals, new, separate tonnage based toll rates would be introduced for general cargo, dry bulk, tankers and vehicle carriers from 1 May 2007 and for refrigerated vessels and passenger vessels from 1 October 2007. The new toll rates are an increase ranging from 26% - 34% over a three-year period, according to the type of vessel. The impact on container carrying ships will be higher. Tolls are expected to increase by around 47% across the three-year period, with effect from 1 May 2007. This is on top of the previous increases which were part of the phasing in of the new basis of TEU charging. (more)
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Panama Canal Authority Holds Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to Pricing System, Regulations

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, March 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) today held a public hearing in the Ascanio Arosemena Auditorium in Balboa, Panama, on its proposal to restructure the Panama Canal's pricing system and certain regulations. Fourteen representatives from shipping and government participated in this opportunity to express their views. "Today, Panama Canal customers and members of the maritime industry were welcomed to participate in a unique, transparent and open process," said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Aleman Zubieta. "This process, where customers participate as we set new rates, is rare in the business world. We will seriously study the comments made today, as well as the written submissions." Throughout the consultation period (February 2, 2007 - March 12, 2007), the proposal was made available to all interested parties. The ACP received a total of 21 written submissions, in both English and Spanish, from individuals and groups. Prior to the proposal's announcement, informal consultations were conducted by the ACP with customers and the maritime industry to listen and receive their inputs.
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Panama Canal Toll Increases May Further Squeeze Lines' Profits

Canal Expansion By Kyunghee Park (Bloomberg) -- The Panama Canal Authority's plan to raise its fees may further squeeze shipping lines' profits, according to the Singapore Shipping Association, which represents 289 companies registered in the city-state. ``Such an increase will only exacerbate the current economic pressure which the shipping industry is currently facing,'' S.S. Teo, president of the association, said in an e-mailed statement today. It may also ``have negative and unacceptable consequences on the world economy,'' added Teo, who's also managing director of Pacific International Lines Pte., Singapore's second-biggest container line. The canal authority plans to raise fees by as much as 47 percent over three years to pay for expanding the 92-year-old waterway, which handles about 5 percent of world trade. Higher fees may further squeeze profits for shipping lines, already suffering from low rates caused by increasing capacity. (more)
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Shipping Groups Lobby Over Panama Toll Increases, Lloyd's Says

Canal Expansion By Alaric Nightingale (Bloomberg) -- Trade groups representing oil-tanker operators, container-shipping lines and commodity carriers are lobbying against plans by the Panama Canal to raise transit fees to fund expansion, Lloyd's List reported, citing the person coordinating their campaign. Shippers face tariff increases of as much as 34 percent within three years, the newspaper reported, citing Tony Mason, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping. (Editor's Comment: The Panama Canal Authority will be raising tolls as high as they can in order to pay for the expansion of the Panama Canal. Shippers will have to either pay the tolls, go through the Suez, or find another way to get their stuff to market. In short the guy who runs the toll booth gets to set the tolls, and you either use the road or you don't. It's perfectly natural for users to first complain, and then pass on the costs to consumers. Simple enough. Welcome to Walmart. The cost of that Chinese-made screwdriver just went up $.02 cents. Deal with it.)
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Panama Canal executives brief industry on expansion

Canal Expansion (sandandgravel.com) Panama Canal Authority (ACP) executives briefed maritime industry leaders on the state of the Panama Canal at the Panama Maritime VIII World Conference and Exhibition, held in Panama City, Panama, February 4-7, 2007. Overwhelmingly, the state of the Canal is excellent – with the expansion project at its initial stages, demand for the Canal at unprecedented levels and the value of the Canal and its “All-Water Route” (the route from Asia to the US East Coast via the Panama Canal) at an all-time high. Canal Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta navigated participants through some key decisions the ACP has made since the handover from US administration. In particular, he underscored the benefits of the ACP’s decision to run the Canal like a business. Today, the ACP looks at its “users” as customers who are different with different needs. In 2002, the ACP segmented the market into eight key segments and began offering unique products and services for those markets. Moreover, he outlined capital investments made to enhance reliability and customer service at the Canal. Mr Alemán focused on the need for expansion because the Canal is nearing maximum capacity. He said that during the expansion project there will be no interruption of service with the existing Canal and that the ACP will use some of the same construction areas as the Americans did in 1939, when expansion was stopped because of World War II.
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Panama Canal Authority Releases Fiscal Year 2007 First Quarter Metrics

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, February 28, 2007 – The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released first quarter (Q1) operational metrics today for fiscal year 2007. In Q1, there was an increase in net tonnage, total transits and transits of supers (vessels 91 feet or more in beam). No official accidents occurred this quarter. Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal including waiting time for passage, increased, as well as booking slot utilization. These metrics are based on operations from October through December of 2006, the first quarter of the ACP's 2007 fiscal year, and compared to Q1 of fiscal year 2006. Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage increased 11.7 percent – to 79.9 million PC/UMS tons from 71.5 million PC/UMS tons. In addition to a spike in tonnage, the Canal experienced an increase in traffic. Total Canal transits increased eight percent – to 3,568 transits from 3,299. Moreover, transits of supers, larger ships that require greater time and navigation skills to transit the Canal, increased 14.6 percent – to 1,968 transits from 1,718. (more...)
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"Silt Happens" - The Environmental Impact of the Expansion of the Panama Canal

Canal Expansion By Matthew Parker for The Hindu - Fears surface of species migration and water shortages. BUILDING THE Panama Canal, completed in 1914, was described at the time as the "greatest liberty ever taken with nature." Now, work is under way on a massive expansion of the canal, with giant new locks being built at either end of the waterway, as well as huge new channels and a widening of the canal where it cuts through the mountainous Continental Divide. Construction, scheduled to last seven years, is estimated to cost $5.2 billion. But the fact that work has started without a comprehensive environmental impact study being carried out has worried Panamanians. They fear that although their country is among the wettest on the planet, the canal could mean that one day soon they will turn on their taps and out will come dirty, salty water — or even none at all. (more...)
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