“A Man A Plan A Canal Panama” Was always my favorite palindrome in elementary school
[U][B]Spain Weighs Into Sacyr Row Over Panama Canal Work[/B][/U]
[I]BY REUTERS ON JANUARY 3, 2014
By Jose Elías Rodríguez
MADRID, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Spain’s government is pushing for talks to settle a dispute over $1.6 billion in cost overruns for expanding of the Panama Canal, a project led by Spanish builder Sacyr, Spain’s ambassador to Panama said on Friday.
Ambassador Jose Silva told Spanish state radio that Public Works Minister Ana Pastor and Sacyr Chairman Manuel Manrique may visit Panama in the coming days.
“We’re trying to get them to sit down for talks to see if they can reach an agreement, and to make all sides understand that everyone loses if the contract is terminated,” Ambassador Jesus Silva told Spanish state radio.
The expansion will triple the size of ships that can ply the canal, helping the small Central American nation compete in global trade. It will affect shipping routes – for example making it easier for cargo to move between Asia and the eastern coasts of the Americas – and the cost of transporting commodities and manufactured goods.
Silva said Sacyr stood to lose money on the contract – one of its biggest – if the issue was not resolved, but said it would be an “acceptable” loss.
Sacyr, Italy’s Salini Impregilo, Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urbana said on Wednesday the overruns on the $3.2 billion project to build a third set of locks along the canal should be met by Panama, and it would suspend the work unless the authorities came up with a solution within 21 days.
The project is more than two-thirds complete and is scheduled to conclude in 2015.
The consortium said the overruns were due to unforeseen events during construction that it deemed normal on such large projects.
Sacyr blamed part of the cost overrun on materials included in the original budget being declared inadequate during the construction phase. For example, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) rejected the concrete mix the consortium had planned to use, the company said.
The PCA dismissed the complaints by the consortium, known as Grupo Unidos por el Canal.
“Regardless of what kind of pressure is put on the PCA, we will maintain our demand that Grupo Unidos por el Canal respects the contract that they themselves accepted and signed,” the head of the PCA, Jorge Quijano, said in a statement.
Shares in Sacyr fell sharply for a second straight session, dropping 5.7 percent to 3.236 euros by 1204 GMT.
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli accused the companies on Thursday of “great irresponsibility” and said they had endangered the massive construction project, a major driver of Panama’s economy.
I 2014 Thomson Reuters, All Rights Reserved[/I]
I have a theory about all this mess. Maybe I’m just off my rocker, not that that would be a surprise, but I’d like to see what all yous guys think. Personally, I see the Chinese in this. Given the recent revelation that they have signed a 50-year agreement with the Nicaraguan Government, effectively leasing part of that country for the purpose of building a canal, it is only to the advantage of the Chinese to see the new American-influenced Panama Canal stumble, or even fall. This would serve to shine more confidence on Chinese endeavors in Nicaragua among the international community.
Convenient though it may be for them that doesn’t necessarily mean that they had anything to do with it. If what this report says is true and construction costs have run as high as $3.2 Billion over budget then I’d probably be pretty pissed too. However, it would not have taken much for some Chinese investors to pour honey in the ear of some Spanish and and Italian businessmen and throw a wrench into the whole thing over night. I have to wonder just how bad the Chinese want their own Central-American canal and just how serious they are about doing it.