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Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 07:59 AM EDT

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Alabama port to expand trade with Panama

Canal ExpansionBIRMINGHAM BUSINESS JOURNAL - BY Jimmy DeButts STAFF - The Alabama State Port Authority has been named the ninth largest port in the nation in terms of tonnage and officials are hoping to expand trade with an agreement with Panamanian businesses. Alabama State Port Authority Director James Lyons is scheduled to meet Panamanian business leaders Tuesday to address boosting trading operations with the Central American nation. Lyons is scheduled to meet with top officials at the Panama Canal Authority, according to a news release. On Wednesday, ASPA and the ACP are scheduled to sign their first Memorandum of Understanding to expand opportunities along the “All-Water Route” between Alabama and Asia, the release said. The Panama Canal is currently undergoing an expansion to double the waterway’s capacity and allow more ship traffic. Panama’s improvements on its canal served as one of the catalysts for capital investments undertaken at Alabama’s only deep water seaport, the release said. In recent years, the ASPA completed a $300 million container terminal in partnership with APM Terminals North America, a subsidiary of Maersk, and CMA CGM. Work began last year on a new turning basin in the lower harbor that will allow for vessels is excess of 900 feet in length to access the port’s deeper draft terminals. A $112 million intermodal rail facility is also under construction in McCalla to capitalize on the port’s five Class I railroads. Under a deal with Norfolk Southern, containers will move into the proposed McCalla facility on an existing Norfolk Southern rail line that originates at the state’s port instead of along Interstate 65 via truck. (Birmingham Business Journal)

Editor's Comment: Practically every port on the Atlantic side of the US is licking its chops at the prospect of seeing additional ships and tonnage thanks to the expansion of the Panama Canal, mostly traffic from Asia that currently comes into the US through the existing major West coast ports. Practically every East coast port is looking at some kinds of plans for expansion, improving facilities, adding more cranes, and being able to handle larger ships with more cargo and containers. These port facilities have mostly evolved over the past 100 years to handle the ships they see - the smaller Panamax ships that could pass through the Panama Canal. Now, all bets are off and there is a sort of gold rush developing - competition between these ports to see which one will be in the best position to receive the lion's share of the new traffic. On the backside of the port will be expansions of trucking and rail facilities, all because there's new money to be made. Remember this is mostly a zero sum game - where one port facility gains another West coast facility will be cutting back and laying people off. The expanded Panama Canal doesn't necessarily mean there will be more trade and ship traffic, it will just change where those ships will dock in the US.

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Panama Canal to fuel business opportunities

Canal Expansion By GRACE GAGLIANO - ggagliano@bradenton.com - SARASOTA — Water Treatment Warehouse is optimistic about future business opportunities in Panama. The expansion of the Panama Canal could allow the Sarasota County manufacturer to build on the estimated $500,000 in annual revenue it generates from Panamanian clients. “The goal here is trying to find ways to be more aggressive in the Latin American market,” said Ivan Garcia, international sales manager for Water Treatment Warehouse. Many regional business professionals shared that same goal Monday as at least 150 attended “Opportunity Panama,” a conference examining how the expansion of the Panama Canal may boost import/export business. Trade industry experts leading the conference at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota said they see major business growth looming for Port Manatee due to the expansion of the canal, expected to be completed in 2014. Bill Ralph, a transportation consultant and economist, projects the canal expansion will bring about 80 percent more cargo through the canal. Currently, the canal can support ships carrying 5,000 TEUs — or 20-foot equivalent units. The expansion will increase that capacity to ships carrying 12,500 TEUs. In addition, ports on the East Coast of the United States are expected to receive 31 percent of Asian exports, up from the 15 percent the ports received in 2000.

“This is really a trade opportunity that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world,” Ralph said. For Water Treatment Warehouse, a manufacturer of water treatment equipment, Garcia said the expansion is coming at a good time because the demand for its product is growing in Latin America. “The expansion of the canal is making exports and imports a little more flexible, which will allow us to do better service,” Garcia said. “There’s a huge need for clean water in Panama and Latin American countries and for the past three years we’ve been expanding our business opportunities in Panama.” Port Manatee, too, expects to build on its regional economic impact of more than $2.3 billion a year. The port will build a 52-acre container yard so it can handle more cargo. In addition, the port has reserved more than 3,500 acres of nearby land for port-related development.

Matt Gehman, director of ports and maritime for Manhard Consulting, said these efforts are among some advantages Port Manatee will have in competing with other southeast ports for the Panama-routed business. In comparison to ports in Charleston, Jacksonville, and New York/New Jersey, Gehman said Port Manatee ranks favorably in land available to expand its terminal, clearances vessels need to safely pass under bridges, nearby consumer population and its proximity to the Panama Canal. “It looks very encouraging for Port Manatee,” Gehman said. “I think these will be some of the major reasons you will find some conducting business and moving business here.”

Charles McSwain, a business consultant specializing in logistics and rail, attended the conference to hear about the business potential available in Manatee County. McSwain said he sees Port Manatee as a big player in the canal expansion because of the land it has available to develop. “The biggest opportunity in Manatee County is the large amount of land it has available for creating logistics opportunities,” McSwain said. “Other ports will be at a disadvantage because they are landlocked.”

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JaxPort agreement seeks tighter bond with Panama Canal Authority

Canal Expansion(AP) By David Bauerlein - The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville - The Jacksonville Port Authority will underscore its connection with the Panama Canal when it signs a marketing agreement this week with the Panama Canal Authority. JaxPort will not spend any additional money for marketing as a result of the agreement, spokeswoman Nancy Rubin said. But the partnership means Jacksonville will join some other East Coast and Gulf Coast ports that previously signed similar partnerships with the Panama Canal Authority. JaxPort Chief Executive Officer Rick Ferrin is traveling to Panama this week to sign the memorandum of understanding with Alberto Zubieta, CEO for the Panama Canal Authority. Ferrin said Jacksonville will be "in the hunt" for its share of the additional cargo that will go through the canal after the current expansion project is finished around 2016. ''We've got to do whatever we can to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the pack," he said today.

The memorandum of understanding will commit JaxPort and the Panama Canal Authority to join forces in marketing the advantages of shipping cargo between Asia and the East Coast via the canal. Currently, the biggest cargo ships that travel from Asia to the West Coast cannot fit through the canal, but the enlargement will let those ships travel through to the eastern side of the country. The agreement also calls for JaxPort and the canal authority to share trade data and market studies that would help each gain business from the bigger canal. The Panama Canal Authority has signed similar agreements with some other ports on the East Coast and Gulf Coast, including Tampa Port Authority in 2005 and Georgia Ports Authority in 2003.

Editor's Comment: The largest ports on the Western, Pacific coast of the United States will undoubtedly lose some of their market share once the greatly expanded Panama Canal commences operations in 2014. Larger container ships from Asia that before could not fit through the Panama Canal would use ports such as Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, and Tacoma. Their cargo was then taken to the rest of the country either by rail or truck. However, the cheapest way to move cargo is still by boat, so now these huge container ships carrying 15,000 TEU or more will be able to pass through the greatly expanded Panama Canal. Before, Panamax vessels were those with a maximum length of 965 ft (294.13 m), a maximum beam (width) of 106 ft (32.31 m), and a maximum draft of 39.5 ft (12.04 m) in tropical fresh water, height of 190 ft (57.91 m) measured from the waterline to the vessel's highest point. After the expansion is completed, all of these vessels listed as the largest container ships in the world that could not pass through, all of a sudden will have the Panama route as an option where it didn't exist before. So, instead of having to put in a Long Beach or what have you, they can steam straight to Houston or Tampa or Baltimore or Jacksonville, straight from Asia. There will be winners in this new trade, as well as losers. I imagine that some jobs will be lost at West Coast ports, while new ones will be created at East Coast ports. And of course it's all good news for Panama, because the Canal will be seeing new customers and business that they could never handle before.

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Brownsville port hopes to gain from Panama Canal expansion

Canal ExpansionBy Steve Clark for The Brownsville Herald - The most ambitious expansion of the Panama Canal in its history is under way, and the Port of Brownsville could benefit — at least indirectly. Work to add a third set of locks to the canal system and widen and deepen its existing navigation channels began in 2007 and should be complete in 2014, doubling the canal’s capacity. Eduardo Campirano, Brownsville port director and CEO, said the improvements will allow the canal to accommodate container vessels of 12,000 to 14,000 TEUs (TEU stands for 20-foot equivalent unit) compared to approximately 6,000 TEUs today. One TEU is the size of a standard cargo container, used to ship everything from car parts to DVDs to teddy bears. Cargo traffic in the Gulf of Mexico is almost certain to grow, with a trickle-down effect likely to benefit the Port of Brownsville and other smaller Gulf ports, Campirano said, though it’s a little early to predict what form it will take.

“The expectation is that shipping activity is going to increase in the Gulf,” he said. “If that happens, then we all have a chance to benefit. But we all have to go after our niches and our markets. Part of that will be watching the market to see what it’s doing.” While the Port of Brownsville might catch some business by servicing feeder cargo lines that in turn serve bigger cargo operations, don’t expect to see an armada of mega-vessels suddenly appearing in the Brownsville ship channel, Campirano said. “We’re not going to be seeing 8,000 container vessels coming to the Port of Brownsville,” he said. “There are a handful of ports in the country that handle 80 percent of the container business. Probably that’s not going to change.”

Instead, the port will focus on assets such as its year-old, short-sea shipping service, which transports cargo inside containers on barges between Brownsville and Port Manatee, Fla. Demand is enough that SeaBridge Freight, which operates the service, is considering adding a second barge to the route, Campirano said. The port’s goal is to continue to diversify the cargo mix while finding ways to keep the containers full, not just en route to Florida but on the return trip as well.

“Most of the product is being hauled from Brownsville to Manatee as opposed to the other way around,” he said. “The key is: What can we bring back?”

Campirano concedes the container-on-barge service isn’t a huge moneymaker for the port. In fact, the Port of Brownsville — because it’s just now breaking into the container business — intentionally charges a lower container-handling fee compared to Houston and other large ports with established, thriving container operations. At the end of the day, though, it puts people to work, which is the important thing. “Where we make the money is more on the services that are offered: wharfage, stevedore services, using the facilities, agents, hauling, trucking, etc.,” Campirano said. “It keeps these guys busy. It keeps them employed.”

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More Than 7,000 Jobs Open for Panama Canal Expansion

Canal Expansion The companies who will be building the expansion of the Panama Canal are about to kick of a recruitment drive to hire the necessary workforce. The project is expected to generate literally thousands of all different types of jobs. Specifically the "Grupo Unidos por el Canal" (Group United For The Canal) is one of the international consortiums involved in the project, and they have an open call for 7,000 workers. The different companies, working together with the Ministry of Labor, will organize and execute job fairs in Panamá, Chepo, Penonomé, Colón, Los Santos, Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, Veraguas and La Chorrera to find and hire the employees they need. (La Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Some people say the expansion of the Panama Canal will have a "cost" of more than $5.25 billion dollars. I prefer to think that the government and these companies will "spend" that much money to get it done. Almost all of that money will be going right back into the Panamanian economy in one way or the other. That "booming" sound you hear is the economy. 2010 is going to be good, 2011 will be better. Those dumb asses in Washington should come down here and take some notes.

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Port of Limon to be extended

Canal ExpansionBy Edgar Sánchez - The Port of Limon in Costa Rica, one of the biggest produce hubs worldwide, is to be extended considerably in a move that could seriously increase the prospects of smaller producers in the country. The redevelopment, which is in response to the work being done to increase traffic in the Panama Canal, would see increased traffic and space at the central American port. Edgar Sánchez, deputy director of the EU department of Costa Rican foreign trade body Procomer, told freshinfo that the government has been working on a new model for a container terminal to complement the Panama Canal as more traffic goes through it. The model will be published in the next few months and then bid on in a private-public deal through 2010 and 2011, with the goal of being fully built by 2014. Sánchez said: “We hope there will be more capacity in the port and more on-time shipping. At the moment, the big companies dominate the port and it's not uncommon for the little guys to be pushed out of a ship because the big guys own them, so hopefully with more capacity more exports all round can come through the port." (Source: Freshinfo)
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The Panama Canal Will See More Liquefied Natural Gas Tankers

Canal Expansion
Liquefied Natural Gas Tanker
Liquefied Natural Gas Tanker
By Alaric Nightingale (Bloomberg) -- Shipments of liquefied natural gas through the Panama Canal may climb once expansion work on the waterway is completed in 2014, TradeWinds reported, citing Silvia de Marucci, an official in the canal’s market research and analysis department. Once work is completed, 80 percent of liquefied natural gas carriers will be able to fit through the canal’s locks, up from 6 percent now, TradeWinds said. In practice, no such vessels presently use the link, de Marucci told the newspaper. Repsol YPF is interested in using the canal to ship LNG from Peru and Kitimat LNG Inc. is also considering using the waterway to sell Canadian cargoes to customers in the Atlantic, TradeWinds reported. The 80-kilometer (50-mile) canal, which connects the Pacific Ocean with the Caribbean Sea, is undergoing a $5.25 billion expansion.
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Delivery Date Established for New Panama Canal Locks

Canal Expansion
Making A Survey To Expand the Panama Canal
Making A Survey To Expand the Panama Canal
A delivery date has been established for the third set of locks being built as part of the massive program to expand the Panama Canal. The consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) has until midnight on 21 October 2014 to deliver this part of the project, valued at $3.118 billion dollars. The Panama Canal Authority published the final date in their thirteenth quarterly report on the progress of the contracts that have been let as part of the expansion program. To avoid cost overruns on the project the Panama Canal Authority has designated a $160 million dollar fund to cover potential price fluctuations for steel, cement, and fuel. So far 97% of the various contracts awarded by the Panama Canal Authority for the completion of the project have already been completed and delivered. Over the past three years the project to expand the Panama Canal has created 3,199 jobs for Panamanians. It is expected that between now and 2010 the project will have generated a total of 11,228 jobs. The phenomenon of "El Niño" - which will extend the summer dry season in Panama - will actually benefit the Panama Canal expansion project by delaying the torrential downpours typical of the Panamanian rainy season, which cause work delays. The GUPC group says they will start working to build the third set of locks 24 hours a day in March 2010. (Source: La Estrella)
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ACP Issues Order to Proceed on Dry Excavation Contract

Canal Expansion The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) issued today, Friday, the order to proceed for the fourth and final dry excavation contract for the Pacific Access Channel (PAC-4). This contract is part of the program to expand the Panama Canal, with the total project valued at $5.25 billion dollars. The winning consortium submitted all required performance bonds for payment and insurance during the first ten days after the contract was awarded on 7 January 2010. Now, with this order to proceed, the consortium ICA-FCC-MECO has 1,288 calendar days to finish this important phase of the expansion project, which should conclude on or before 2 August 2013, according to a press release from the ACP. This channel, located on the West bank of the Canal between the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, will complete the construction of a 6.1 kilometer long channel that will link the new third set of locks on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal to the Culebra Cut. This project also includes the excavation, removal and disposal of approximately 26 million cubic meters of material. The ACP awarded this contract to the consortium ICA-FCC-MECO, after the contractor submitted the lowest bid, complying with the requirements in the bid sheet. (Source: La Prensa)
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Panama awards $268 million canal digging contract

Canal ExpansionPANAMA CITY (Reuters) - The Panama Canal Authority said on Thursday it awarded a $268 million excavation contract to a consortium including Mexico's ICA (ICA.MX), Spain's FCC (FCC.MC) and Costa Rica's Meco. The companies will help dig a channel connecting Panama's new Pacific locks with the narrowest part of the canal, the authority said in a statement. To make way for larger ships, Panama is spending $5.25 billion in the first major expansion of the canal since it was opened in 1914. A consortium led by Spain's Sacyr Vallehermoso (SVO.MC) and Italy's Impregilo (IPGI.MI) were the low bidders for the main contract in the expansion program in July. The expansion of the canal, which currently handles 5 percent of global trade, is due to be completed in 2014. (Reporting by Sean Mattson, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)
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Spanish-Mexican-Costa Rican Team Submits Low Bid for Second Biggest Panama Canal Contract

Canal Expansion
Rendered photo illustrates dam structure (center in green) that will be built because of water level differences of the new channel
Rendered photo illustrates dam structure (center in green) that will be built because of water level differences of the new channel
By C.J. Schexnayder - A construction consortium from Spain, Mexico and Costa Rica has outbid three other competitors for the second-largest contract awarded in the Panama Canal’s $5.2-billion Third Lane Expansion effort, eclipsed only by the price tag for design and construction of the waterway’s new locks. Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. (FCC), along with Mexico’s Empresas ICA and Constructora MECO of Costa Rica, submitted a bid of $268 million for the fourth and final contract to construct a 6.7-kilometer-long access channel on the canal’s Pacific side. The three other bids for the contract were submitted by a team led by Panama City-based ISC Panamá bid, which bid $295 million; a consortium of Belgian dredging firm Jan de Nul and China’s CHEC, which bid $359 million and one from Brazilian contractor Odebrecht at $380 million. “We are very pleased to see that the competition among top construction companies has resulted in bids that are within the budget,” says Jorge L. Quijano, executive vice president of engineering and program management for the Panal Canal Authority, the quasi-governmental body that oversees the waterway. Officials will award the contract in early 2010 after analyzing technical and financial submissions. When completed in 2014, the Third Lane Expansion is expected to double the canal’s cargo capacity. The project not only will increase the number of vessels that can traverse its 80-kilometer-long length, but also permit passage of massive post-Panamax ships that the current locks are too small to accommodate. The Pacific Access channel is required to connect the Panama Canal’s existing navigation channel and new locks to be constructed on the waterway’s Pacific side.
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Meco Consortium Wins Panama Canal Contract

Canal ExpansionTelemetro Reporta - The Meco Consortium, formed by companies from Costa Rica, Spain and Mexico, won the fourth dry excavation contract for the Panama Canal, one of the largest parts of the program to expand the canal that will allow larger ships to use the waterway, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). MECO bid $267.8 million dollars, or $27 million less than their closest competitor said the ACP. "Work should begin early next year and we calculate it should end in 2013," said the head of the ACP, German Alberto Zubieta, at the event were the envelopes containing the proposals were opened. The MECO Consortium consists of the companies Meco (Costa Rica), Ica (Mexico) and FCC (Spain), the ACP said. The contract for the fourth dry excavation "represents the most complex construction project after the new set of locks," said the Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management of the ACP, Jorge Luis Quijano. Among the other companies and groups bidding for the contract - the Brazilian company Odebrecht asked for $379.8 million dollars, the consortium ISC Panama proposed $294.9 million dollars, and the Jan de Nul-Chec group asked for $359.1 million dollars. The proposals were opened on Tuesday by the ACP, which in the next few days should award this contract in order to complete the expansion of the Canal in 2014, in time for the centennial of the opening of the waterway. The winning group will have to remove 27 million cubic meters of earth and rock to open a channel of just over six kilometers near the Pacific entrance of the canal. The expansion project, which will have a total cost of about $5.25 billion dollars, would allow for the passage of much larger ships through the Panama Canal, which already sees about 5% of all world trade. Meco is an established Costa Rican company specializing in earth moving, road building, and the construction of tourism infrastructure, which has worked throughout Central America since 1992.
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ACP Will Announce Winner of Second Largest Canal Expansion Contract Today

Canal Expansion
Ships In The Panama Canal
Ships In The Panama Canal
La Estrella - The Panama Canal Authority will announce tomorrow the winning bidder of the largest dry excavation work in the expansion of the waterway. The contract requires the digging of a new channel that will connect the new locks with the Culebra Cut, the narrowest stretch of the waterway, near the entrance to the Canal to the Pacific Ocean. This is the fourth contract that will be awarded for excavation as part of the project to expand the Panama Canal, and it is the second largest contract in terms of price or value, second only to the contract to build the new set of locks. The work includes the excavation, removal and disposal of about 27 million cubic meters of material, to open a dry riverbed 6.1 kilometers in length, in a contract estimated to be worth around $400 million dollars. ACP sources explained that because it was a bidding process and since there was no requirement for prequalification, it will not be known what companies are competing for the contract until the opening of the envelopes which will take place tomorrow at 18.00 GMT at the headquarters of the Panamanian government institution that manages the waterway. Some media outlets have claimed the Spanish company Sacyr Vallehermoso, along with the Italian company Impregilo and the Panamanian company CUSA aim to secure this contract, after winning last July. According to this information, also competing for this contract are the Spanish company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), together with the Mexican company ICA and the Costa Rican company MECO, a group which won the third dry excavation contract for $36.6 million dollars, the lowest bid. Sacyr, with Impregilo, CUSA and Holland's Jan de Nul was awarded in mid-July the primary job of the Panama Canal expansion project, the construction of a new lane of locks, a huge project costing $3.118 billion dollars. The canal was designed in 1904 for vessels measuring at most 267 meters long and 28 meters wide, and the Panama Canal is now too small to handle those vessels known as "post-Panamax" which far exceed the capabilities of the current canal, so the expansion of the canal was needed together with a new set of much larger locks. With this expansion project, which began in 2006, the ACP aims to double the traffic capacity of the canal, from 300 to 600 million tons annually.
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Houston Eyes Asia Trade as Panama Canal Expands

Canal ExpansionBy Chris Baltimore LA PORTE, Texas (Reuters) - Warehouses holding everything from beer kegs to frozen chickens crowd the roadside along Highway 146 south of Houston, and a ferocious building boom is adding acres more, thanks to an even bigger project 1,800 miles away in Panama. A $5.25 billion plan to triple the Panama Canal's capacity finishes in 2014, opening the way to Houston for mega-sized cargo vessels that can't squeeze through the canal's current locks and don't want to steam around South America. The prospect of bigger ships, and more of them, could be a boon for the Port of Houston, which already handles more foreign tonnage than any other U.S. port. With an eye toward feeding the U.S. consumer's insatiable demand for Asian-made goods, U.S. retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Home Depot have built millions of square feet (hundreds of thousands of square meters) of warehouse space around Houston ports. "They're popping up every place," said Jimmy Jamison, director of operations at the Port of Houston Authority, referring to the warehouses. "If they wait until the Panama Canal expansion, that property won't be there." (more)
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A Bridge Too Near

Canal Expansion By Joseph Bonney for the Journal of Commerce - When people gather to talk about the Port of New York and New Jersey, conversation almost inevitably turns to the port authority-owned Bayonne Bridge. The span's 151-foot vertical clearance is too low to allow the new generation of container ships to take full advantage of what will be 50-foot-deep channels to Port Newark/Elizabeth by 2012 and to New York Container Terminal on Staten Island by 2014. Port Director Rick Larrabee, told an industry audience Thursday night that the agency is determined to solve the bridge problem, but that such a huge fiscal and policy decision deserves careful examination. The port authority has commissioned a $10 million study of alternatives. These range from spending $2 billion to $3 billion or more on a new bridge or tunnel to an intriguing idea to redesign the existing bridge into a "lift" span that would raise the roadway to provide ships with more headroom. The feasibility of the "lift" alternative remains undetermined, but Larrabee said that because it might be done within three years at one-tenth the cost of a bridge replacement. Larrabee said the idea will receive close examination in the current study. "During the next 12 months, we'll run that one to ground," he said. With the Panama Canal's widening only five or six years away, the industry is getting antsy. There's even some talk about trying to persuade the port authority to demolish the bridge and divert Bayonne-Staten Island traffic to other bridges. An economic argument could be made for demolition -- traffic on the existing span totals only 22,000 vehicles a day. But don't look for it to happen. Demolishing a perfectly sound bridge, even to clear a critical navigation impediment, would tough to sell politically.
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Investor to Help Baltimore Port Prepare for Bigger Ships

Canal ExpansionBy CHRISTOPHER CONKEY for the Wall Street Journal - The deal, announced Friday, is essentially a 50-year lease between the Maryland Port Administration and Ports America Group, a company owned by Highstar Capital, a New York private-equity fund. In exchange for the right to operate Baltimore's cargo-container terminal for 50 years, Ports America will make an upfront payment of $100 million and a series of infrastructure improvements at the port. Chief among them: deepening the water at the cargo terminal to 50 feet from its current depth of 45 feet. The improvements will enable Baltimore to compete for the supersize cargo vessels that are expected to start passing through the Panama Canal after its expansion is complete in 2014 or so. The vessels are capable of carrying twice as many 40-foot containers as the cargo vessels that typically call on East and Gulf Coast ports. Other ports are considering similar expansions and hunting for the capital to get them done. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is examining a number of proposals to fix its biggest impediment to serving bigger cargo ships: a bridge that isn't high enough for the vessels to fit under. Port officials in Charleston, S.C., are studying plans to increase the depth of its water, which fluctuates by six feet along with tides. The port is also moving to develop its Navy Base Terminal, which would boost container capacity by 50% when finished.
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Construction of New Locks for Panama Canal Expansion Will Begin in 2010

Canal ExpansionLa Estrella - The construction of the third set of locks for the expansion of the Panama Canal will begin in January 2010, said yesterday executive director of the consortium that won the bidding for the project, Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), Antonio Zaffaroni. "We are at the beginning and there are many bureaucratic procedures, presentations that have to be done, and permits to obtain. The real work starts in January. For now it's all preparation, removal of animals, cutting trees..." said the official from the GUPC consortium, led by Spanish company Sacyr Vallehermoso. Zaffaroni said the first phase of the work will be the excavation, after having established "the facilities to produce concrete, crushed stone, cement and equipment to unload the arriving supplies." GUPC won the contract to build the third set of locks in mid-July for $3.1 billion dollars. Regarding the concerns raised over the difficulty of getting the job done at that price, Zaffaroni said "at present" there is "nothing alarming." "The budget is lower due to better technical skills, because having studied the project well it will cost less because we have optimized transportation cycles and construction methods," he said. The international consortium, which also includes the Italian company Impregilo, Belgium's Jan de Nul and the Panamanian Constructora Urbana (CUSA) has 1,883 days (about five years and 2 months) to complete the work, and time began to count on 25 August 2009. According to this calculation, if the consortium uses all of the time allowed by the Panama Canal Authority, the work would not be ready for August 15, 2014, when the government wants to inaugurate the new set of locks in time for the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the original canal.
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Pittsburgh Company to Supply Gerdau Ameristeel Sheet Piling for Panama Canal Expansion

Canal ExpansionPITTSBURGH, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- L.B. Foster Company of Pittsburgh, PA has been awarded a $20.5 million contract to supply Gerdau Ameristeel sheet piling to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) for use in the construction of the Panama Canal Expansion. The successful bidder for the PAC-4 contract opening later this year will install the piling for the excavation of the Pacific Access Channel and the construction of the Borinquen Dam. Gerdau Ameristeel's PS 31 flat steel sheets will be delivered in lengths of 56 ft. to 69 ft. Also, their PZC(TM) 26 Z-type sheet piling will be delivered in 49 ft. lengths. "ACP is acting independently of the contractor in this purchase to minimize costs and pre-stage the material for a 1Q 2010 start of the PAC-4 construction contract," said Jim Wiehage, Houston/International Sales Manager for the Construction Products Group within L.B. Foster Company. "As with other Gerdau deliveries to international locations, the sophisticated logistics required for the shipment of $20 million of piling from mid-state Virginia and Texas to the middle of Panama are considerable," noted David Maedgen, Gerdau Ameristeel Piling Sales Manager. Gerdau Ameristeel and L.B. Foster teamed to assure the client that the piling will move expeditiously by rail and truck to US ports, by ship to an Atlantic terminal near Colon, Panama and then by trucks to the jobsite. The first delivery is scheduled for October 2009 with 3 additional shipments of equal size completing transit by the end of January 2010. "L.B. Foster is proud to join with Gerdau Ameristeel to supply construction materials for such a monumental effort and to participate together in this historic project," said Don Foster, Senior Vice President of L.B. Foster's Construction Products Group. The Pacific Access Channel and the Borinquen Dam will be integral parts of the Panama Canal Expansion and provide navigation access to the Gaillard Cut via the new Pacific Post-Panama Locks. The completed canal project will allow ultra-large intermodal ships traveling from Asia to continue by sea to the US East Coast, rather than unloading containers on the West Coast and continuing freight by rail or truck across the United States.
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Panama Canal Gets Bids to Dredge Atlantic Entrance

Canal ExpansionBy Peter T. Leach for the Journal of Commerce Online - Key expansion project to help create expanded Panama Canal. The Panama Canal Authority said Thursday it has received bids from a number of global engineering and construction firms for the contract to dredge the Atlantic entrance to the canal. The Atlantic entrance dredging project is part of the Canal’s $5.25 billion expansion program to ensure larger, wider ships can reach the new locks. This includes lowering the canal bottom to 15.5 meters below mean low water, dredging approximately 14.8 million cubic meters and conducting the dry excavation of 800 thousand cubic meters. The area to be dredged on the Atlantic entrance extends approximately 13.8 kilometers, and the scope of work also includes widening the existing Atlantic entrance channel from 198 meters to a minimum of 225 meters and the north approach channel to a minimum of 218 meters. The canal authority released its request for proposals for the Atlantic entrance dredging on Feb. 27. Subsequently, several bidders attended site visits and a pre-tender meeting held from April through July, which were hosted by the canal authority and provided pertinent details on the project. The canal authority said it will now conduct a careful review of the bids before awarding the contract in the coming weeks to the lowest bidder that complies with all the contract requirements. The Atlantic entrance dredging is one of several key expansion projects that will help create an expanded Panama Canal. Other major projects are also pending. The largest and most important is the design and construction of the new set of locks. The canal authority also plans to dredge the Pacific sea entrance, and four dry excavation projects will ultimately form a new Pacific access channel to the new locks. So far, plans remain on time and on budget. The canal authority expects the expansion program to be complete by 2014.
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ACP Delivers Orders To Proceed on New Locks Construction

Canal Expansion By WILFREDO S. JORDAN S. for La Prensa - The last step of the bidding process for the design and construction of the third set of locks was reached yesterday when the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) gave the order to proceed to the Grupo Unidos Por El Canal (GUPC). GUPC, led by the Spanish company Sacyr Vallehermoso, should begin work on August 25, 2009. After that date, the consortium has 1,883 days to deliver the new locks, in mid-2014. The consortium was awarded the contract to construct the third set of locks on July 15, for having the best technical expertise and the lowest price: $ 3.118 billion dollars. The ACP issued the order to proceed after completing the period specified in the project's schedule to start work, which included a review of the technical documentation and the qualifications of the various bids submitted. Based on this review, the consortium that came in second and offered a bid of $4.185 billion, Bechtel, Taisei, Mitsubishi Corporation, sent a note to the Minister for Canal Affairs Romulo Roux, warning about some technical shortcomings of the GUPC proposal. The CANAL consortium, which offered $5.981 billion, also sent a note to the ACP warning of an earthquake risk in the conceptual design of GUPC.
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Port Everglades reaches accord with Panama Canal

Canal ExpansionBy Bob Luder for The Packer - Port Everglades, Broward County, Fla., signed a memorandum of understanding with the Panama Canal Authority Aug. 4 which it hopes will promote greater maritime trade and encourage new business between the organizations. Both organizations currently are undergoing expansion of their facilities, making this new agreement timely as well as practical. Port Everglades is working toward increasing capacity to handle larger ships that will pass through the Panama Canal after its expansion project is completed in 2014, according to a news release from Port Everglades. The canal expansion project will build a new lane of traffic along the canal through a new set of locks, doubling capacity and allowing the passage of longer, wider ships. The Port Everglades expansion is part of a comprehensive five-year capital improvement plan and 10- and 20-year vision plans estimated to cost $2 billion over the next 20 years, according to the release. Port Everglades director Phillip Allen said in the release that ports up and down the East Coast, especially those in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia, will be faced with expanding ship berths and ensuring adequate harbor depth as larger ships become the norm after the canal expansion. “Today’s signing of a memorandum of understanding between Port Everglades and the Panama Canal Authority marks our strong commercial and economic bonds and further strengthens it with an alliance for information sharing and collaboration,” Allen said in the release. “It will provide the framework to work together in a series of activities promoting both the canal and the port.” Port Everglades’ trade through the Panama Canal with the Far East and west coast of South America reached 909,893 short tons in 2008, 15% of the port’s container cargo throughput. (See Comments)
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For Panama Canal, a new era of trade is coming

Canal Expansion By David J. Lynch, USA TODAY - PANAMA CITY — Under leaden skies, mammoth yellow vehicles prowl an enormous gash in the earth. Excavators, bulldozers and loaders relentlessly carve the rippled black and brown ground, reshaping nature's handiwork. There's no sense of drama or romance or history. Nothing to suggest this sprawling site is anything special. But these workers are trying to improve upon one of the great engineering feats of history: the Panama Canal. On the other side of a nearby rise, the refrigerated cargo ship Cape Town Star, hauling fruit from Ecuador to Russia, is easing through the canal's almost century-old Miraflores Locks. Now, under a $5.25 billion project, the canal authority is adding a third lane to the ocean-spanning waterway that will double its capacity and allow access to the world's largest cargo-carrying vessels. "We are eliminating the restrictions the canal has imposed on the maritime industry. … The capability you have here, you have nowhere else in the world," says Alberto Aleman, the canal authority administrator. (more)
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"United For The Canal" Must Present $450 Million Performance Bond

Canal Expansion By Carlos Estrada Aguilar for La Critica - The group "United for the Canal" has to deliver a performance bond worth $450 million dollars to guarantee the work they will do after having won the public bid to build the third set of locks as part of the project to expand the Panama Canal. Once they deliver this bond then the contract will be signed and they will be given the order to proceed. The consortium submitted a bid for $3.118 billion dollars, and the work must be completed in 1,883 days or about 269 weeks. If they run over the alloted time the company will have to pay $300,000 dollars per day or a maximum of $54.6 million dollars in penalties. Thus far the project to expand the Panama Canal has created 2,500 direct jobs according to the Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority Alberto Alemán Zubieta in a report to the Deputies of the National Assembly who sit on the Canal Affairs Committee. Alemán Zubieta said 2011 will be the "peak period" of the project, and at that time they expect the project will generate more than 7,000 jobs. Alemán Zubieta said as work progresses on the areas of the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the waterway where excavation work is being conducted, more workers will be added to the widening project and there will be a significant impact on growth in the construction sector. The chairman of the Canal Affairs Committee, Luis Eduardo Quirós, recalled that when the expansion project was approved it was established that the Minister of Canal Affairs and the Administrator of the ACP should present a quarterly report detailing the progress of the work to ensure the transparency of the project. The Minister for Canal Affairs Romulo Roux was also present at the National Assembly. (See Comments)
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Panama Canal expansion to boost trade

Canal ExpansionBy Adeline Teoh (dynamicexport.com.au) - Trade between Asia and North America will benefit from the expansion of the Panama Canal after canal authorities nominated a bid by a Spanish-Italian consortium as the frontrunner to be awarded the expansion contract. The Panama Canal Authority will assess the consortium’s US$3.12 billion bid, led by Spain’s Sacyr Vallehermoso and Italy’s Impregilo, for technical issues before confirming the deal. The consortium beat two rival consortiums for the contract. Presenting significant savings and a sound technical front, the group was said to have the ‘best value’ bid, which will see canal capacity double to accommodate newer, wider ships. “This event marks a critical milestone for the Panama Canal Authority and Panama,” said Alberto Aleman Zubieta, CEO of the Panama Canal Authority. “We look forward to awarding the contract in the coming days.” The canal sees about five percent of the world’s cargo, mostly trade between Asia and the east coast of the USA.
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Sacyr Vallehermoso climbs on Panama Canal win

Canal ExpansionBy Steve Goldstein LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Spain's Sacyr Vallehermoso (ES:SYV 10.69, +1.01, +10.43%) rallied nearly 13% in Madrid after leading a winning consortium that included Impregilo (IT:IPG 2.38, -0.05, -1.96%) to build a new set of locks for the Panama Canal. The bid was $3.12 billion, which was lower than the bids from the competing groups. One rival consortium was led by Bechtel, and another included Actividades de Construccion y Servicios (ES:ACS 34.40, +0.19, +0.56%) , Acciona (ES:ANA 82.60, +0.35, +0.43%) , Fomento de Construcciones y Contratos (ES:FCC 27.10, +0.45, +1.69%) and Hochtief (DE:HOT 34.34, +0.72, +2.14%).
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Impregilo shares higher after Panama news

Canal ExpansionMILAN, July 8 (Reuters) - Shares in Italian construction company Impregilo (IPGI.MI) rose over 3 percent after the Panama Canal Authority said the consortium led by Impregilo and Sacyr (SVO.MC) had submitted the lowest price bid for a contract to expand the canal. The authority said the consortium's bid was $3.12 billion while the authority's target price for the contract is $3.48 billion. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes)
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Bechtel financially fittest in Panama bid-analysts

Canal ExpansionBy Danilo Masoni and Sean Mattson MILAN/PANAMA CITY, July 7 (Reuters) - A team led by U.S. group Bechtel is financially best placed to win the race for an estimated $3.3 billion contract to expand the Panama Canal, analysts said. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) overseeing the bidding will open price bids on Wednesday but may take several weeks before announcing a winner. This $3.3 billion contract is the largest chunk of a $5.25 billion project to expand the canal. Bids were placed months before a presidential election brought into power millionaire supermarket magnate Ricardo Martinelli, bucking a trend of left-wing leadership victories in Latin America. The new president took office last Wednesday. The other two bidders are a consortium including Spanish giants ACS (ACS.MC), FCC (FCC.MC) and Acciona (ANA.MC), and a smaller group led by Sacyr (SVO.MC) of Spain and Impregilo (IPGI.MI) of Italy. The closely watched decision was initially expected before Martinelli took office. There has been speculation that bids could exceed Panama's budget and that the project could incur cost overruns. (more)
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ACP To Announce Winner of $3.35 Billion Dollar Contract This Week

Canal ExpansionBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - On Wednesday this week the Panama Canal Authority will announce the winning consortium for a contract to design and build the third set of locks for the expansion of the Panama Canal, the largest single contract of the project expected to be worth as much as $3.35 billion dollars. The new locks will be much larger than the existing locks and will allow for the passage of the world's largest vessels. In addition the design will incorporate elements to reuse the water in chambers, rather than simply flushing the millions of gallons of water necessary for each ship to pass as is currently done with the existing locks. There are several consortiums competing for this contract, specifically the CANAL group, Bechtel (Japanese and US), and the "Grupo Unidos por el Canal" (companies from Spain, Italy, Germany, and Panama.) Experts from the Panama Canal have been reviewing the bids and proposals since March, and each bid has been graded using a scoring system. The group obtaining the best overall score, based on both the technical merits as well as the bid price, will be awarded the contract. If you would like to watch the opening of the envelopes live via a webcast, just click on this link to see the show, which will start at 9:00 am on Wednesday morning, 8 July 2009.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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State considers Ceres, Ports America to operate Seagirt

Canal ExpansionBy Michael Dresser for the Baltimore Sun - The port of Baltimore has concentrated its search for a private partner to operate the state-owned Seagirt Marine Terminal on two competitors - a vital step in preparation for the expected widening of the Panama Canal in 2014. The Maryland Port Association said Tuesday that Ceres Terminals Inc./Alinda Capital Partners LLC and Ports America Group/Highstar Capital have passed the qualification process and will be permitted to submit bids to run the Southeast Baltimore terminal. The lead partners are both familiar names in the Baltimore port. Ports America has operated Seagirt Marine Terminal since it opened in 1990. Ceres has been a leading stevedore here for more than 30 years. James J. White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, said the state expects to make a final contract award late in the fourth quarter. The winning bidder would lease the terminal for a minimum of 30 years and would be required to put up the estimated $80 million it will take to build a new 50-foot berth to accommodate the larger ships expected to call on the port after the Panama Canal is widened. That project is expected to be completed in 2014. White said there were only the two responses to the state's bid invitation but that both qualified. He expressed delight with the quality of the bidders, calling them both experienced stevedores backed by strong infrastructure investment funds. "I think we're in great shape," he said. "We're very encouraged and excited to move this thing forward." The next step in the process is for the state to outline the specific terms and conditions it is proposing for the public-private partnership agreement. The bidders will have until Sept. 4 to submit initial offers, and negotiations toward a best and final offer would take place in the fall. White said construction of the new berth is expected to begin in 2012 and take about 18 months.
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West Coast ports fearing growing competition

Canal ExpansionBy LES BLUMENTHAL; MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS - WASHINGTON – Struggling to ride out the recession, West Coast ports face new competition as ports in Canada and Mexico, an expanded Panama Canal and even the Suez Canal could steal away some of the cross-Pacific shipping they’ve relied on. More than 70 percent of Asian goods imported into the U.S. – everything from toys to electronics to autos – pass through the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma and Portland. The directors of the ports, in a first-ever joint visit, were on Capitol Hill last week seeking billions of dollars and a federal commitment to improve rail corridors necessary to speed the goods east. “We need a well-thought-out, strategic freight policy,” said Tim Farrell, executive director of the Port of Tacoma. “We need to focus on corridors from Shanghai to Chicago or Tokyo to Houston. We are just getting started, but the West Coast ports generate more jobs than the Big Three automakers.” (more)
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