Panama Canal Panama Presses Spain and Italy To Resolve Canal Expansion Cost Dispute

A Big Crack Threatens the Panama Canal Expansion – VIDEO

A crack has formed in the concrete of one of the new locks of the expanded Panama Canal that could potentially threaten the delivery of the project as scheduled. The crack formed in what is known as the sill of the new Cocoli Locks on the Panama Canal’s Pacific side. Video shows water seeping through the concrete across the width of the chamber near the top of the sill, just below one of the giant rolling gates that forms the barrier between lock chambers. The ACP has said that they will not accept anything less than perfect for the project, as it was agreed in the contract. “The ACP will not accept the work of (the expanded canal) flawed,” the ACP tweeted Friday after learning of the issues. “The contractor must repair to the satisfaction imperfections and defects detected in the testing period we are conducting,” the ACP said in another tweet. GUPC addressed the issue via Twitter on Friday after photos of the crack began circulating online. Neither the ACP or GUPC have said what the problem could mean for the delivery of the project currently scheduled for April 2016. Vice President of Finance at the ACP Francisco Míguez said in an interview Monday that contractor GUPC should bear all costs associated with the repair of the locks. GUPC began filling the Cocoli lock with water in June and the barrier separating the new lock from the water of the Pacific Ocean was just removed this last week. An aerial photo of the new Cocoli locks on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. Photo: ACP The Panama Canal expansion involves the construction of a ‘Third Set of Locks’ that will allow larger ships to transit. The project, costing more than $5 billion, now stands at more than 90% complete. The new Pacific and Atlantic lock complexes have a combined 16 rolling gates, 8 on each side.   18.07.2015 new reformkommission-bau-grossprojekte-endbericht-2   Bmrk.Btr.HP/blog uns steht das gleiche mit der 5.Schleuse Brunsbüttel bevor, unsere Vorgesetzten ( z.B. Herr Dobrindt, Herr Beckmeyer Maritimer Coordinator Deutschland Frau Hagedorn Infrastrukturmanagement Deutschland und Herr Kahrs Sprecher SPD HA BT ) als NOK Fans können sich das ansehen und haben dies auch schon getan , um so etwas beim Bau der 5,Schleuse zu vermeiden.   Geld ist da  Planung 1,5 Mrd. € Umsetzung zentrale Stelle NOK Steuerung BRB ? Herr Essfeldt Projektleiter 5.Schleuse Erst alles gut und am Ende massive Nachforderungen Kostensteigerung Eklatantes  BSP Elbphilharmonie , von 78 Mio auch 780 Mio. €, wegen naiven unfähigen Politikern wie , hier nenne ich auch Namen, Ole von Beus und  Schill. Angeblich 540 Mio. € + Oststrecke  260 mio . €  i+ 80 mio.€ Schleusensanierung ist auch Geld, auch wenn der BT HA fast 300 Mrd. € verwaltet.

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Panama Canal Regains Past Glory

Weekly capacity on Far East to US East Coast all-water services has surged by 20% year-on-year, to reach a record high of 143,000 teu this month, according to market analyst Alphaliner. A total of 25 weekly strings currently serve the trade, four more than one year ago. Six strings were launched between March and May this year, of which four are brand new services. In addition to these new loops, two seasonal summer strings were re-launched at the end of the winter slack season. The Panama route currently accounts for 51% of the total capacity on the all-water trade, retaking the traditional lead that the Panama Canal had on this trade over the Suez Canal, Alphaliner added. The Panama share had been dropping steadily from 74% at the beginning of 2010, to fall to an all time low of 44% in February this year. This was before the launch of the new strings, starting from March, shifted the balance back in favour of the Panama Canal. In fact, five of the six strings launched or re-launched this year use the Panama route. The 16 container services currently routed via Panama have a combined weekly capacity of 73,000 teu with an average capacity of 4,570 teu, compared to nine strings routed via Suez with a total capacity of 70,000 teu and an average capacity of 7,780 teu. Alphaliner said that in contrast to the surge in the all-water capacity to the US East Coast, due mainly to the diversion of transpacific cargo from the United States’ Pacific Ports to the Atlantic and Gulf ports, weekly capacity on Far East to US West Coast services has remained stagnant year-on-year. The Panama Canal has taken another important step toward the completion of the Expansion Program as it has started filling and testing the new locks on both the Pacific and Atlantic side of the canal. As of the end of May, the overall Expansion Program of the Panama Canal stood at 89.8 percent complete, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). Upon completion, the two new lock complexes will have a total of 16 gates, eight in the Pacific and eight in the Atlantic. The USD 5.2 billion expansion project is slated for completion in December 2015. Images: Panama Canal Copyrigh world maritime news

Panama Canal Chief Says New Locks Will Be Working By January 2016

reuters logoThe Panama Canal’s new set of locks will be operational by the January 2016 deadline, the canal’s chief said on 10th June, after fears that a recent labor strike could have further delayed the project. “In January 2016 the widened canal will be working,” Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano told reporters. “We have already completed between 75 and 76 percent” of the engineering project. Quijano said there could still be some work outstanding, but the new locks will be ready for use. The strike, which ended on May 8, brought work to widen the 100-year-old canal to a halt for more than two weeks. panama canal Panama’s largest construction union walked out on April 23 demanding higher wages from employers, halting work on hundreds of projects across the country. The expansion was originally scheduled to be completed this year, but has been delayed several times, in part due to a dispute earlier this year because of about $1.6 billion in cost overruns. The Panama Canal Authority and the consortium contracted for the project, led by Spain’s Sacyr and Italy’s Salini Impregilo, signed a deal in March to resolve the dispute and finish the project. The expansion involves building a third set of locks to allow bigger ships to pass through the 50-mile (80-km) waterway. (Reporting by Elida Moreno; Writing by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Christine Murray, Simon Gardner and Diane Craft) Copyright 2014 Thomson Reuters.


Ausbau erneut gestoppt

Freitag, 25. April 2014

Der groß angelegte Ausbau soll die Transportkapazität des Panamakanals verdoppeln. Foto: Canal de Panama

Der Ausbau des Panamakanals ist erneut ins Stocken geraten. Streikende Bauarbeiter haben die Arbeiten weitgehend zum Erliegen gebracht. Die Gewerkschaft Suntracs fordert für die kommenden vier Jahre jeweils 20 Prozent mehr Lohn, der Arbeitgeberverband hat in den Tarifverhandlungen 20 Prozent für alle vier Jahre angeboten. mm/dde Mehr: THB 
A worker walks at the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project on the Atlantic side on the outskirts of Colon City January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso The Panama Canal Authority said that it has reached a deal with the construction consortium that will allow for work to resume on the third set of locks in the Panama Canal expansion project. A statement late Wednesday by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said the new locks contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC), led by Sacyr of Spain and Italy’s Salini Impregilo, has accepted the ACP’s repeated request and has agreed to restart work on Thursday. As part of the agreement, ACP will pay GUPC $36.8 million for December invoices to ensure that GUPC cancels pending payments and obligations to suppliers, the statement said. Over the next 72 hours, the parties will continue discussions on points such as the dates for the delivery of the gates, an implementation schedule for the remainder of the works, a timetable of repayment moratorium and other key aspects for the project’s development. The decision was made today during phone conversations between the ACP and heads of the consortium, but the ACP statement said there are still some issues on which an agreement has not been reached. The news that work would resume comes two weeks after it was halted over a dispute over cost overruns, threatening further delays of the project.

Deadline Looms As Panama Canal, Consortium Seek End To Cost Dispute

reuters logoThe Panama Canal and a Spanish-led construction consortium expanding the major global waterway discussed options on Tuesday to keep the multibillion-dollar project afloat amid a dispute over costs, but any deal seemed unlikely ahead of a looming deadline. The disagreement between the two parties over $1.6 billion in cost overruns and how to maintain financing has already halted work on the project for two weeks and has delayed its projected completion until at least December 2015. Delays could cost Panama millions of dollars in lost shipping tolls and are a setback for companies worldwide that are eager to move larger ships through the canal, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers that want to ship from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Asian markets. panama canel “The Panama Canal Authority reports that despite efforts to agree with (consortium) Grupos Unidos por el Canal to resume work on the new locks project, positions between the parties remain apart,” the canal authority said in a statement. “Although last week the parties seem to have come to an agreement on certain components during the talks, there were serious disagreements at the time of putting it in writing,” it added, saying the parties agreed to resume talks on Wednesday morning. Canal administrator Jorge Quijano last Wednesday set a target of no more than a week to reach a deal to jump-start the project, a deadline that will lapse in the coming hours. Quijano had previously warned that the canal could terminate the contract with the consortium and push ahead with a third party if a deal proves elusive. A major sticking point in the negotiations on Tuesday was converting a $400 million bond from insurer Zurich North America into backing for a loan so the consortium can secure a short-term cash injection needed to continue its work, sources familiar with the talks said. The consortium took out the bond as a required insurance policy in case it did not finish the project. The bond is payable if the project is not completed by the consortium for any reason. The insurer was ready to provide the loan if shareholders of the consortium, which is led by Spain’s Sacyr and Italy’s Salini Impregilo and includes a Belgian and a Panamanian company, shoulder the risk and are liable for repaying the loan, one source said. But the consortium’s chief executive officers want the insurer to be the primary risk-holder, which Zurich considers unacceptable, one source said. A key issue centered on the share of the risk the Italian and Spanish governments would take, one source said. Spain’s majority state-owned insurer Cesce, set up to financially aid international expansion of Spanish companies, provided a guarantee for the Sacyr bid in 2009. Although Cesce has declined to comment on how much was guaranteed, a source with knowledge of the operation said it was for $200 million and helped underwrite the $400 million Zurich bond. Officials at Zurich were not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for Sacyr declined to comment. The parties also continued to debate a weekend proposal by the canal authority that would allow work to restart immediately, with it and the consortium each contributing $100 million. But a source familiar with the negotiations said the consortium had not yet accepted the deal and wanted to wait on an answer from Zurich. The overall expansion project, of which the consortium is building the lion’s share, was originally expected to cost about $5.25 billion, but the overruns could increase that to nearly $7 billion. By Lomi Kriel and Sonya Dowsett Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. Click here for Restrictions

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artial Accord Reached in Panama Canal Expansion Dispute

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panama canal construction colon By Eric Sabo and Emma Ross-Thomas Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) — The Panama Canal Authority said it reached a partial agreement with builders led by Sacyr SA to end a dispute, even as it continues to seek alternatives to finish the waterway’s expansion. Sacyr rose as much as 8 percent. A preliminary agreement on some of the builders’ demands has been reached and talks continue, a representative for the canal authority, who asked not to be named in line with policy, said in a telephone interview. Jorge Quijano, head of the authority known as ACP, said talks would probably end this week, as he continues to consider options to get the suspended project finished. “We will find a solution one way or the other soon,” Quijano told reporters in Panama City in comments broadcast on channel 2 TV today. The group of builders including Madrid-based Sacyr suspended work to expand the canal last week, making good on a threat issued in December, as they demanded help from the waterway’s management to finance a $1.6 billion cost overrun. The excess costs amount to about half the initial budget to build the new set of locks, which will allow the canal to accommodate larger ships, helping reduce transport costs for commodities such as liquefied natural gas. Shares in Sacyr rose as much as 8 percent, the most since Jan. 6, and traded 6.1 percent higher at 4:18 p.m. in Madrid. Milan-based Salini Impregilo SpA rose 3.2 percent. A Sacyr official declined to comment on the Canal Authority’s announcement. Copyright 2014 Bloomberg. Copyright marineinsight

Panama Canal, Consortium Make New Proposals To Rescue Expansion

reuters logoThe companies working to widen the Panama Canal and the waterway’s administrator on Friday each made new proposals aimed at reviving the multibillion dollar project, after talks broke down this week amid a cost spat and work ground to a halt. Grupo Unidos Por El Canal (GUPC), led by Spanish builder Sacyr, said it was pushing for a settlement with the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) to resume the work, which would double the capacity of the century-old waterway. panama canal expansion   The widened canal would allow bigger ships to ferry cargo such as grains, chemical products and vehicles between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. The consortium said its proposal took into account the concerns of the canal authority “while providing the funding necessary to finish the third set of locks.” It declined to comment on the details of the proposal it sent on Thursday to the PCA. The Canal Authority said it had sent the consortium a counterproposal based “on the parties contributing financial resources to resume work as soon as possible.” Its proposal does not increase the contract price or accept any of the consortium’s claims. It also sets specific dates for the delivery of a new set of lock gates and completion of the works, and would extend a moratorium on repayment of advances “to the extent that the GUPC meets the required delivery schedule”. The consortium’s request for an extension to a moratorium on repaying a $784 million advance until the end of arbitration, which is aimed at settling a dispute over $1.6 billion in cost overruns, has been a major sticking point. GUPC wants to delay the repayment to free up funds to finish the project. Delays to a 2015 completion deadline could cost Panama’s government millions of dollars in toll revenue. The PCA’s head, Jorge Quijano, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that the Canal was ready to pull the plug on the contract unless a deal is reached quickly. He said he had held general talks with other companies about the work pending on the expansion, but declined to name them. Multilateral lenders to the project toured the site on Friday and also received a presentation from the canal authority that included details of the works stoppage by the consortium. The canal authority has disbursed the $2.3 billion loaned by the group of development banks for the project. If the talks fail, the Canal could ask insurer Zurich North America to terminate the contract with GUPC, which also includes Italy’s Salini Impregilo, Jan De Nul from Belgium and Panama’s Constructura Urbana (CUSA), a canal official familiar with the process said. By Julien Toyer and Lomi Kriel (Additional reporting by Sonya Dowsett and Jose Rodriguez; Editing by Elinor Comlay, Simon Gardner and Lisa Shumaker) Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions 

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Panama Botched Geological Studies In Canal Cost Row Copyright  Gcaptain A worker walks at the construction site of the Panama Canal Expansion project on the Atlantic side on the outskirts of Colon City January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso By Lomi Kriel PANAMA CITY, Jan 21 (Reuters) – The Panama Canal Authority said on Tuesday it was in talks over a new financing proposal with the Spanish-led consortium in charge of expanding the waterway and its insurer aimed at ensuring work continues on the project, which faces huge cost overruns. Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano said the consortium, led by Spanish builder Sacyr and which had threatened to halt work on the project this week, had pushed back its deadline to the end of January. Earlier this month, the consortium had vowed to stop work by Jan. 20 unless the Panama Canal agreed to foot the bill for an estimated $1.6 billion in unforeseen additional costs. The canal is one of the world’s most important shipping routes and halting construction on the project would be a setback for companies eager to move larger ships through the waterway such as producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), who want to ship exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Asian markets. “There is a proposal on the table which the parties have put forward,” Quijano told reporters. “It could offer a pretty long-term solution so work can continue.” He said the consortium had sent a letter advising the canal authority it would not halt work before at least Jan. 31. A canal authority official said that work at the construction site was running at about 25 percent to 30 percent of capacity. The Panama Canal Authority said this week it had turned down an offer by the European Commission to mediate the multibillion-dollar dispute. The canal is one of the world’s most important shipping routes. The entire project was due to cost about $5.25 billion, but the overruns could bump that up to nearly $7 billion. The canal authority said last week it might take over a key part of the waterway’s expansion if the consortium in charge of the project makes good on a threat to suspend work. The consortium, which includes Italy’s Salini Impregilo , Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urbana, won a contract in 2009 to build a third set of locks, the main part of the project to double capacity of the near 50-mile (80 km) transoceanic cargo route. © 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Panama Canal Authority Rejects EU Mediation Offer In Contract Row

reuters logoThe Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has turned down an offer by the European Commission to mediate in a multi-billion dollar dispute with a Spanish-led construction consortium which threatens to halt work on widening the century-old waterway. Copyright <marine insight The consortium, known as Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), had threatened to suspend work by Monday unless the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) paid $1.6 billion in cost overruns on one of the world’s largest construction projects. But on Sunday the group backed down from the threat. The European Commission said on Monday GPUC, led by Spanish builder Sacyr, had requested mediation by the European commissioner for industry Antonio Tajani, who accepted. But the PCA immediately rejected it. “The contract over a third set of locks has already mechanisms to resolve disputes and none of them includes the intervention of a third party,” PCA said in a statement. Panama-Canal expansion “This will only be dealt with in accordance with what the contract says,” it also said. Earlier on Monday Tajani had told Reuters by telephone he believed a compromise could be found allowing Panama to have the work done and the European companies not to lose the contract. “In the meantime it is important that the deadline date (to stop work) be put back. This is the first step and it looks to me as if we are heading in this direction,” he had said. Tajani also said he had spoken with the Italian and Spanish foreign ministers and would now discuss the issue with the European Investment Bank, which financed the project, and the representatives of Panama in Brussels. GUPC – which also includes Italy’s Salini Impregilo SpA , Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Constructora Urbana from Panama – won the contract in 2009 to build a third set of locks, the main part of the project to double capacity of the near 50-mile (80 km) cargo route. The consortium’s winning bid was $1 billion lower than that of its nearest rival. The entire project was due to cost about $5.25 billion, but the overruns could bump that up to nearly $7 billion. GUPC is set to meet with the PCA and insurer Zurich North America on Tuesday to discuss the status of the work, including its $600 million bond on the locks project. Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano has said the PCA is already in discussions with other third-party contractors in case it cannot resolve its dispute with the GUPC. He estimated the remaining work would cost about $1.5 billion. The canal authority has said it is willing to consider detailed claims for the overruns through arbitration. The canal is one of the world’s most important shipping routes and halting construction on the project would be a setback for companies eager to move larger ships through the waterway such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers who want to ship exports from the U.S. Gulf coast to Asian markets. By Danilo Masoni and Foo Yun Chee Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters Copyright Gcaptain
panama canal construction colon reuters_logo1By Lomi Kriel and Sonya DowsettPANAMA CITY/MADRID, Jan 20 (Reuters) – A bitter dispute between the Panama Canal and a Spanish-led consortium of construction companies over the spiraling cost of expanding one of the world’s busiest waterways was years in the making. The two sides are at odds over who should pay for $1.6 billion in cost overruns to build a third set of locks for the canal, the main part of the expansion of the 50-mile (80 km) cargo route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The impasse over the 100-year-old waterway could delay construction, which aims to double the canal’s shipping capacity and bring in billions of dollars in new revenue for Panama. Reuters interviews with people involved in the 2009 bidding for the contract, local officials and leaked diplomatic cables reveal their concerns that the Grupo Unidos por El Canal (GUPC) consortium would not be able to finish the job with a bid that was $1 billion lower than its nearest rival. The GUPC, led by Spanish company Sacyr, said the overruns were caused by problems including flawed geological studies carried out by the Panama Canal Authority (PCA), a semi-independent government entity that has managed the waterway since the United States transferred ownership to Panama in 1999. But the PCA has rejected the GUPC’s assertions. A top Panamanian official close to the bidding process, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, said within months of the project being awarded, Sacyr executives were saying the work would not stay on budget. “The PCA knew some years ago that Sacyr authorities were saying that openly, but felt they were protected by the contract,” the official told Reuters. A second Panamanian official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said even before the deal was signed, discussions with consortium officials showed they believed they would be able to negotiate a higher cost at a later stage. “But they found in Quijano a brick wall,” the official said, referring to the head of the PCA, Jorge Quijano. Large infrastructure projects often run over budget, and GUPC officials have said overruns are an occupational hazard. But Sacyr denies it ever planned to ask for more money and says flawed data from the geological studies of the canal pushed up costs, because it meant that local basalt excavated for the work was not right for the concrete mix it planned to use. “It was not a deliberately underbid offer,” the company’s chairman Manuel Manrique told reporters this month. “Sacyr has successfully carried out a great number of projects … and we are still winning and carrying out projects.” The PCA has dismissed that basalt claim, and points out that its contract offered no assurances over the rock. “The employer in no way guarantees that such (material) is adequate, or meets the requirements for the contractor’s proposed design, or is suitable for the works,” says the contract, which is publicly available on the PCA’s site. COSTLY DISPUTE The dispute could prove costly for both sides. Expansion was originally due to be finished in 2014 to coincide with the canal’s centenary celebrations, but that deadline was pushed back to the middle of next year. If work is delayed, Panama could lose out on millions of dollars in projected revenue from toll charges. For Sacyr, which has 48 percent of the consortium, the work brings in a quarter of its international revenue. Like most Spanish builders, the company relies heavily on foreign orders to offset a sharp economic downturn at home. Winning the bid gave the company a major lift. At the end of 2008, Sacyr was grappling with falling core earnings, punished by weak construction and property markets as Spain’s economy swung from boom to bust. The company was swamped with 14.5 billion euros ($19.7 billion) of debt, around seven times its market value. Sacyr’s shares had lost nearly 90 percent of their value from the 2006 all-time peak. In July 2009, GUPC clinched the contract for the locks with an offer worth $3.12 billion – significantly below the $3.48 billion target reference issued by the PCA for the process. That was $1 billion below the second lowest offer tendered by a group fronted by U.S. engineering company Bechtel. Both Bechtel and another consortium led by Spanish company ACS, whose bid was worth $6 billion, quickly sent letters to the PCA complaining the GUPC proposal did not meet the bid requirements and had inherent structural risks. But neither losing bidder formally challenged the process, and Canal Administrator Quijano told Reuters those structural concerns had since been resolved. Jorge Sanchiz, a Panamanian engineer with experience in canal work, said both the PCA and the consortium were to blame: one for underestimating the costs, the other for allowing it. “They only way (the consortium) was going to be able to cover this was asking the Canal Authority to meet the overruns,” said Sanchiz, who forecast before the PCA made its choice in 2009 that the winner would run substantially over budget. The overall expansion of the canal was initially forecast to cost $5.25 billion in total. But the overruns now being claimed by the consortium are pushing it close to $7 billion. “COST OVERRUNS COMMON” A senior figure within the GUPC said the PCA was being unrealistic if it thought the project would not cost more than originally projected by the consortium. “To think that a five-year project with the complexity and size of this one won’t have overruns is absurd,” the official said, asking not to be identified. “In a lot of projects the deviations were much bigger than in this one.” One of the biggest academic studies on the issue in recent years was a 2003 investigation at Aalborg University in Denmark which looked at 258 transport infrastructure works worldwide and found they had an 86 percent chance of incurring cost overruns. On average, the costs were 28 percent higher than forecast, the study said – but below the 50 percent jump on the GUPC bid. Sacyr’s main partner is Italy’s Salini Impregilo, which has a similar share in the project. The GUPC also includes Jan De Nul from Belgium and Panama’s Constructora Urbana (CUSA). A day after the PCA published its evaluation of the bids, the U.S. embassy, which had backed the Bechtel-led consortium, described the GUPC proposal as a “bargain basement bid,” according to cables published by WikiLeaks. “It is widely expected that during construction, Sacyr will attempt to renegotiate the price,” the cable said. Less than six months later, the U.S. embassy cabled Washington that Panamanian vice president Juan Carlos Varela had expressed grave misgivings about the winning offer. “When one of the bidders makes a bid that is a billion dollars below the next competitor, then something is seriously wrong,” the cable quoted him as saying at the end of 2009. Alberto Aleman, who headed the PCA from 1999 to 2012, said all the competitors had faced the same rules and that the Sacyr-led group had offered both the best design and the best price. “Bechtel’s offer had a different design in which the gates were 50 percent bigger, using much more concrete,” he said. But costs were always likely to be an issue, he admitted. “We knew before we put this together that any project of this complexity would have claims. No matter who would win.” The dispute has not surprised industry experts in Spain. The practice of making low offers for a contract, then negotiating costs later has been a popular strategy for Spanish construction firms for years, industry officials told Reuters. Companies put in low bids in the hope of booking extra pay-outs on modifications and extensions as revenue, they said. “We’ve all done that at some time or another, making low bids was a typical Spanish tactic,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Spanish government passed a law in 2011 aimed at preventing the practice of underbidding, and said at the time that 98 percent of public contracts signed in the previous 15 years had ended up with cost overruns. The PCA said this month it could take over the project from early February if GUPC made good on its threat to suspend work unless the authority footed the bill for the cost overruns. The dispute over costs looks likely to be settled by arbitration panels agreed in the contract, but a question remains over whether the GUPC will finish the project. The first Panamanian official said he expected the expansion to be taken out of the GUPC’s hands. The consortium’s suspension was due to take effect Monday, but GUPC said work would continue for now while it remains in talks with the canal authority. However the row plays out, the expansion looks unlikely to suffer the fate of the 19th century scheme to build a canal through Panama led by Frenchman Ferdinand de Lesseps. Starting work in 1880, it collapsed after the loss of thousands of lives and millions of dollars, allowing the United States to step in and take control of the canal project in 1903. Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli said the expansion of the waterway could not be stopped. “The Canal will be finished regardless of what’s said, come rain, wind or hail,” he said. (c) 2014 Thomson Reuters, All Rights Reserved
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Board Of Directors Reaffirms Full Support To Panama Canal Administration

The Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has reaffirmed its full support to the Panama Canal Administration in the management of the contract for the construction of the Third Set of Locks. In a press release issued today, signed by the Chairman Roberto Roy, the Board of Directors reaffirmed its “full support to the management of the Administration in all the challenges it has faced during the Canal Expansion. The current situation, even though delicate, is but another challenge that we are facing together. We trust that will be resolved.” In addition, the members of the Board of Directors indicated that “the Panama Canal Expansion will be completed in the shortest amount of time and at the lowest cost possible, within the terms of the contract.” The Board of Directors also thanked for the “trust and support received during the past couple of weeks.” Panama-Canal expansion About the ACP Board of Directors The Board of Directors is responsible for establishing policies for the operation, improvement and modernization of the Canal, as well as supervising its management in accordance to Panama’s Constitution, the Panama Canal Authority Organic Law, and the Regulations thereto appertaining. The ACP Board of Directors is made up of the following members: Roberto Roy (Chairman), Adolfo Ahumada, Marco A. Ameglio S., Rafael E. Bárcenas P., Lourdes del Carmen Castillo Murillo, Guillermo O. Chapman Jr., Nicolás Corcione, Ricardo de la Espriella Toral, Henri M. Mizrachi K., José A. Sosa A. and Alberto Vallarino Clément

Sacyr Says Has $574 Million At Stake In Panama Contract

reuters logoSacyr, the Spanish building company leading a consortium to expand the Panama Canal, said it risks losing $574 million in guarantees and advance payments if a spat over cost overruns at the multi-billion dollar project is not resolved. In an 8-page document sent on Friday to Spain’s stock market regulator but which had not been made public until Saturday, the firm also detailed for the first time its claims of $1.6 billion in extra costs and said the canal extension would not be completed until June 30, 2015 at the earliest. The consortium warned earlier this month it would halt work from Jan. 20 on a third set of locks for the century-old waterway, one of the world’s largest building contracts, unless the Panama Canal Authority footed the bill. In an interview with Reuters, Sacyr Chairman Manuel Manrique on Friday played down the row and said the company was making progress in talks with the canal operator over financing to avoid a damaging work stoppage. panama-canal-expansion Sacyr said the guarantees it provided on the contract were worth $445.5 million as of Dec. 31, 2013 and it had also made advance payments worth $128.4 million. The company said it registered in 2012 a 665-million-dollar income based on cost overruns it had not yet been paid but hoped to cash in. It added it did not register any additional income linked to its claims as of Sept. 30, 2013. The consortium, which made a 289-million-dollar loss in 2012, has been paid 2.05 billion dollars for the work completed so far, or 66 percent of the $3.2 billion contract, as well as 784 million dollars in advance payments. Sacyr insisted in the document it had over the last five months repeatedly asked the canal authority to start a constructive dialogue over the overruns which, it said, arose only after the work started. “The overruns that are being claimed correspond to situations that appeared after the work started, which is when the inaccuracy of the information provided to the consortium to execute the project was verified,” the Spanish firm said. It added that the canal operator and international experts audited the overruns in March 2013 and said they were “real, reasonable and in line with the market.” Among the main claims brought by Sacyr is an $880 million extra cost due to “fundamental and irreversible changes” to the original project made by the Panama Canal Authority. Another $497 million overrun arose because the basalt found locally, in contradiction with the documentation provided at the time of the tender, was not right for the mix of concrete planned for the locks, meaning the consortium had to bring in basalt from elsewhere. A further $120 million, which was added to the cost of building a temporary dam, was originated by inaccurate geologic information in the contract, Sacyr also said. Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions Copyright marine insight  
The first four new gates for the Panama Canal's third set of locks are seen on top of a cargo ship during their arrival to Colon in Colon City August 20, 2013 . The third set of locks has a total of 16 rolling gates, eight for each new lock complex. The new gates weigh an average of 3,100 tons each. They were constructed in Italy. According to Panama Canal authorities the 12 gates remaining are scheduled to arrive before the end of 2014. The expansion project will allow bigger ships to transit, with two new sets of locks, one on the Pacific side and one on the Atlantic side REUTERS/ Carlos Jasso By Eric Sabo Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) — A group led by Sacyr SA said it will need more money than the Panama Canal Authority is offering to continue expansion work on the waterway as a dispute over $1.6 billion in cost overruns enters its second week. The consortium, which includes Milan-based Salini Impregilo SpA, said it would continue building a third set of locks if the canal authority pays $400 million in addition to $100 million the waterway offered earlier today. The canal authority said that the companies must match the contribution, which they have so far refused to do. “The two sides agree to go to arbitration to resolve the contract claims,” the group, known as GUPC, said in an e-mailed statement. “The GUPC and Panama Canal Authority are studying ways to reach an agreement on cash flow problems.” The European builders beat rivals including San Francisco- based Bechtel Group Inc. to win the contract in 2009 as part of a $5.25 billion expansion that will allow larger ships to transit between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They are due to build locks on both the sides of the 80-kilometer (50-mile) waterway, shortening voyages from the U.S. to Asia and potentially reducing transport costs for commodities such as liquefied natural gas. Earlier today, the Panama Canal Authority said it would also allow the group more time to repay $83 million it owes in addition to offering $200 million to keep the canal expansion on track. In return, the consortium must rehire workers that have been fired during the dispute and end threats to stop work this month, Jorge Quijano, the canal administrator, told reporters in Panama City. The canal expansion project was originally expected to be finished by the end of 2014, on the waterway’s centennial. The project has since been pushed back almost a full year, according to the most recent projections by Quijano. Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.
Image courtesy Panama Canal Authority reuters_logo1By Elida Moreno and Elisabeth O’Leary PANAMA CITY/MADRID, Jan 2 (Reuters) – The president of Panama said on Thursday he would go to Spain and Italy to put pressure on companies to honor contracts to expand his country’s canal after the building consortium handling the project threatened to suspend work because of a row over costs. The members of the consortium — Spain’s Sacyr, Italy’s Salini Impregilo, Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urbana — said jointly on Wednesday that $1.6 billion in cost overruns on the $3.2 billion extension should be met by Panama. The consortium, known as Grupo Unidos por el Canal, said the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) had 21 days to respond to its demands during which work would continue, but the project would be suspended if that requirement was not met. SEE ALSO: Builder Gives Panama Canal Expansion 21-Day Ultimatum Just a few hours later, the PCA rejected the demand, hinting it could find others to complete the canal expansion. Shares in Sacyr, which heads the consortium, slumped 9 percent on Thursday. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli accused the companies of “great irresponsibility” and said they had endangered the massive construction project, which has been a major driver of the Central American nation’s economy. Martinelli, who took power in 2009, said he expected Italy and Spain to uphold commitments to back the project which the countries’ leaders made to him during his first year in office. “So I’m going to go to Spain and Italy to demand this from them, because a company should not be able to put such a high amount of overrun costs on a project that belongs to humanity,” he told reporters in Panama City. The Spanish and Italian governments have a “moral responsibility” to help resolve the dispute because their companies were engaged in the construction, Martinelli said. The PCA says the expansion project is just over 70 percent completed. It aims to broaden and deepen existing channels in the canal so that more and bigger vessels can sail through. The consortium said the overruns were due to unforeseen events during construction, which it said was “normal” in such projects. It also said the PCA had failed in its obligations and given the consortium “inexact” information for the project. But the PCA said that if the consortium was not capable of honoring its agreements, it would initiate “mechanisms from the contract that would allow the work to be completed.” It did not explain what those would be. SPANISH IMAGE Sacyr won the bid on the canal contract in 2009 with a $3.12 billion offer which was considerably lower than that of rivals, as well as below the $3.84 billion reference set by the PCA. Political columnist Pepe Oneto, writing in opinion blog, said the news was terrible for Spain’s attempt to rebuild its image abroad following a severe economic crisis with the collapse of the country’s building and property sector. “The Spanish government … knew that it was impossible for the budget to be met. Sacyr bid low, convinced that, in the end, the cost overruns it is demanding now would be met,” he said. A spokesman for Sacyr said that part of the cost overrun was because some building materials as originally budgeted were not adequate for the final work. Sacyr’s debts at the end of September were three times its market capitalization. Newspaper El Pais reported in 2009 that Panama’s foreign minister, Juan Carlos Varela, had predicted the project would fail because the builders were in financial trouble. Analysts at the brokerage of Banco Sabadell said the news was not good for Sacyr or its image, but played down the impact on the builder’s results. Sacyr made 55 percent of its revenue outside Spain in the first nine months of 2013, and Panama contributed 25 percent of its 1.3 billion euros in international sales, the company said in its 2013 nine month earnings. © 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Copyright Marineinsight Bmrk.Btr. HP/Blog: auch andere haben Finanzierungs - Ausführungsprobleme , bisher lief der Ausbau telativ problemlos.Fazit  Wer von uns Menschen ist insbesondere bei so riesigen Projekten unfehlbar ????? Niemand .

Cost Overrun Clash Endangers Huge Panama Canal Extension Project

reuters logoWork on the massive Panama Canal extension project may be suspended after a clash between the builders and the Panamanian authorities about $1.6 billion in cost overruns, according to a statement from the building consortium on Wednesday.
The cost overruns on the $3.2 billion canal extension, one of the world’s largest construction contracts, should be met by the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) under the terms of the contract, argued the consortium comprised of Spain’s Sacyr, Italy’s Impregilo, Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urbana, SA. Image credits: However, the PCA rejected 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. The PCA added that if the consortium was not capable of honoring its agreements, the authority would initiate “mechanisms from the contract that would allow the work to be completed.” It did not explain what those would be. The consortium said the overruns were the result of unforeseen events during construction, something which was “normal” in these kind of projects. The group said it believes the PCA had “failed in its obligations as set out in the contract as well as in the inexactitude of the information provided to the consortium to carry out the project.” Under the terms agreed, the PCA has another 21 days to comply with the requirements, it added, during which work will continue. No one at Sacyr was immediately available for further comment. Problems with the Panama project come at a bad time for Sacyr, whose total net debt stood at 6.9 billion euros at the end of September, more than three times its market capitalisation. Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions Neues vom Ausbau des Panamakanales , der 2009 begann und 5,5 Mrd. Dollar kosten soll. auf dieser Seite findet man den neuesten Stand der Bauarbeiten April 2012 Frank Behling httpv:// 45 Min . Video Ausbau 2012 März Frank Behling   httpv:// Frank Behling Video Zusammenarbeit Belgische Lotsen - Panama Pilots + Ausbau Panama kanal

Will the US Become the World’s Largest Exporter of LNG?

  Six developers with existing import terminals are following the Sabine Pass model. And Cheniere has another project in Corpus Christi. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, Gulf LNG projects can economically target the lucrative Asia market. By 2017, the U.S. could be exporting upwards of 13 billion cubic feet of LNG per day. Most of Germany’s (and all of Europe’s) new supply will be gas-fired. Given the choices, would Europe rather grow its gas supply from Russia, North Africa or the U.S.? The policy implications should be obvious, even to the U.S.   Weitere Infos letzter Artikel

  On late August, traffic jams at the Atlantic and Pacific entrances to the Panama Canal impeded a healthy chunk of the world's maritime commerce. Each day, on average, more than 40 massive ships, many of them three times as long as a football field and piled high with cargo, rode at anchor in impromptu fleets that stretched across the horizon. On the Atlantic side, most of the ships carried grain from the American heartland, bound for markets in Asia; the vessels on the Pacific side from the Far East were jammed with cars and electronics destined for the U.S. East Coast. Some ships with daily operational costs of $40,000 waited as long as a week for passage. Ninety-three years after it first opened for business, the Panama Canal is finally maxed out. Designed before the Titanic was even on drawing boards and while the Wright brothers were still learning to fly, the canal today handles more traffic than its builders could have ever imagined. About 14,000 vessels carrying 5 percent of the world's ocean cargo -- 280 million tons -- pass through the waterway each year. Despite running the canal around the clock -- at close to 90 percent of its theoretical maximum capacity -- canal officials are struggling to keep up. httpv:// + Click to enlarge The December 1913 issue of PM. But with global trade booming, major shipping companies are willing to pay dearly for the 50-mile transit across the Isthmus of Panama. During periods when traffic backs up, canal officials sometimes institute an auction to determine which ships get through first. On Aug. 26, BP Shipping bid $220,300, a record for oil tankers, to jump to the head of the line. When combined with the regular transit fee, the passage cost BP $400,000. The auction price was not an anomaly: It was the fourth oil-tanker record that week. The August traffic jam highlighted both how integral the canal remains to global shipping, and how vulnerable that shipping is to delays. The backup began when crews had to shut down one of two lanes in the Gatun Locks for routine maintenance. A massive breakdown could be devastating. Much like an aging bridge or highway, the Panama Canal has become a transportation paradox -- at once a vital artery and a worrisome bottleneck. For years, major shipping companies built vessels designed to fit the canal's 110-ft.-wide lock chambers the way an ice cube fits in a tray. These so-called Panamax ships carry the bulk of the cargo that transits the canal. Increasingly, however, global shippers are building even bigger vessels, known as post-Panamax ships, that cannot fit through the current canal. (In North America, goods that bypass the canal typically cross the States or Canada by rail.) By 2011 those vessels will represent 37 percent of the world's container ships. To Panama Canal officials, the phrase post-Panamax has a grim ring: It suggests a time in the near future when the canal may become obsolete. Egypt's Suez Canal already handles 20 percent more traffic than the Panama Canal and generates more than twice as much revenue. And the lockless, sea-level shortcut between Europe and Asia can accommodate supertankers that dwarf the largest vessels transiting the Central American isthmus. Panama can't afford to let the canal become a backwater. So in October 2006, the country's voters overwhelmingly approved a $5.25 billion plan to expand and modernize the canal. The project will include two new sets of single-lane, three-step locks -- one set at the Atlantic entrance and one at the Pacific; two new navigational channels to connect the new locks to existing channels; and deeper, wider versions of existing shipping lanes. In all, canal crews will dredge 130 million cubic meters of rock and soil, enough to fill the Empire State Building nearly 130 times. The new traffic lane will be large enough to accommodate post-Panamax ships and will double the canal's capacity.


+ Click to enlarge Rush Hour: Transiting ships crowd Miraflores Locks and Miraflores Lake. The grandest public building in Panama is not the president's residence or the National Assembly. It is the Panama Canal Administration Building, a stately, tile-roofed structure that sits atop a pyramid-shaped hill near the Pacific end of the canal. It was inaugurated in 1914 as the headquarters for America's canal officials. Since 1999, when control of the canal was transferred to Panama, the building has housed the Panama Canal Authority (in Spanish, ACP), a branch of the Panamanian government. The edifice reflects the outsize importance of the canal to Panama. The waterway accounts for 14 percent of the tiny tropical nation's gross domestic product, and its full import is even greater. "I can't think of a country where you can point at one thing that has the significance that the canal has to Panama," says Richard Wainio, director of the Port of Tampa. Wainio grew up in Panama and worked at the canal, just as his father and grandfather did. "It is more than economics. It is more than just business. It dominates the hearts and minds of Panamanians." Inside, ACP officials still work at the huge square desks that were built to allow chief engineer George W. Goethals and other early administrators to spread out enormous plans and blueprints. In a quiet office, ACP deputy administrator Manuel Benítez lays out the rationale for expansion. "The canal today is a clockwork operation," he says. "But the number of transiting ships is approaching the physical limit of the canal." Benítez notes that the idea of expanding the canal has been around almost since its inception. In 1939, the United States began excavations to enable the canal to accommodate a new generation of warships, but the start of World War II cut the project short. The ACP reviewed dozens of options before deciding to complete the Depression-era U.S. work. "On the Atlantic side, all of the American excavations are usable," Benítez says. "On the Pacific side, we can use part of the excavations." The agency believes it can finish the project in seven or eight years with fewer than 7000 workers -- less than 10 percent of the number who toiled on the original American construction from 1904 to 1914. The key to the project is its scale. The new reinforced-concrete lock chambers will be 1400 ft. long, 180 ft. wide and 60 ft. deep, with each lock complex measuring more than a mile and a half in length. "This will be by far the longest lift complex in the world," says Agustin Arias, ACP's director of engineering. "But most of the technology that we are recommending is in practice elsewhere." Even in a tropical country receiving more than 100 in. of rainfall annually, the biggest challenge facing engineers is the need to save water -- an increasingly scarce resource in Panama. "The problem isn't rainfall," Benítez notes, "but storage." Man-made Gatun Lake is a 166-square-mile reservoir that is replenished during the country's seven-month rainy season. But the canal watershed supplies drinking water to 95 percent of the population around the waterway, and deforestation has affected the quality and quantity of the runoff. httpv://

Transits Times Two

By 2015 new locks and channels will double capacity.

Map by Superfuture

More than half the $5.25 billion budgeted for the expansion of the Panama Canal -- $3.35 billion -- will be spent on new single-lane, three-step locks at the Atlantic and Pacific entrances, as well as on new channels. The new locks will not replace but augment the existing locks, and allow the canal to handle larger post-Panamax ships and tankers. To connect those locks to existing shipping lanes, nearly 5 miles of channels will be excavated. The current route through Gatun Lake will also be deepened by 5 ft. and widened, from today's 500 ft. minimum, to 920 ft. on straightaways and 1200 ft. in the turns. Gatun Lake will then be raised 1.5 ft., providing an extra 550 million gal. of water each day for the locks and alleviating concerns that canal expansion will tax water supplies. About 130 million tons will be excavated over the next seven or eight years, more than half the amount removed during 34 years of French and U.S. digging. Dry excavation could begin this year; work on the new locks could start in 2008 and on Gatun Lake in 2011.
+ Click to enlarge Tight fit: Panamax ships have a clearance of about 2 ft. on either side in the current canal locks. Electric-powered "mules" are used to position vessels. (Photo by Danny Lehman/Corbis) The biggest tax on the water supply, though, is the canal itself. It requires, on average, more than 2 billion gal. per day to fill the locks for passing ships. An expansion plan that included bigger locks with a traditional design would have doubled water consumption. One way to address the problem -- build dams to create new reservoirs -- was a nonstarter. It would have meant relocating residents, even entire communities, which was politically unpalatable. Then, in 1999, canal officials visited the Hohenwarthe Locks on the Elbe River in Germany and saw a solution: locks that recycled some of the water used in transits. "It was one of those 'Aha!' moments," says Raúl Brostella, an ACP port captain. "In effect, you are able to reuse water that would otherwise be flushed out to sea." Three shallow basins adjacent to each chamber in the new locks will collectively capture 60 percent of the water from the locks as they are emptied. This water will be used to partially refill the locks when another ship comes through. As a result, although the new lock chambers will hold 65 percent more water than the originals, they will use 7 percent less water per transit. The canal authority also will raise the level of Gatun Lake, making an additional 550 million gal. of water available each day. Benítez sketches the plan on a notepad, explaining that, by doubling up smaller ships in the new lock chambers, officials can limit the use of the older, more wasteful, locks. But even if both sets of locks run full tilt, he says, "we will run out of capacity before we run out of water."


  The canal's current miter gates are based on a design found in the 15th century notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci: double-leaf doors hinged on chamber walls and sealed by water pressure. Each leaf is 65 ft. long, 7 ft. thick, and 47 to 82 ft. high; the most massive weighs 730 tons. For repairs and maintenance, they need to be removed and taken to a dry dock, shutting down a traffic lane and causing delays like those that occurred last August. Once again, ACP officials found a European solution, where new locks on several canals accommodate post-Panamax ships. These locks, most notably the Berendrecht Lock in Antwerp, Belgium, employ two rolling gates, which are stored in recesses in the lock wall. The gate works like a wheelbarrow, with sets of wheels on the front and rear. When tilted forward in the recess, the gate slides across the chamber; when tilted backward, it returns to its recess. Most significantly, the twin-gate design allows canal crews to seal one of the recesses with a bulkhead and pump it dry, creating an on-site dry dock for maintenance and repairs. Meanwhile, the other gate is used to keep traffic moving. For generations, seamen and cruise ship passengers have watched electric locomotives known as "mules" glide along lock-side tracks, pulling on hawsers to maneuver ships in the lock chambers. The new locks would have required 12 to 16 mules to position post-Panamax vessels. Instead, tugboats that already service canal traffic will align ships in the chambers -- one at the bow and one at the stern. In conversation, canal officials make it clear that they see themselves as carrying on a grand engineering tradition. Speaking of the original builders, Alberto Alemán Zubieta, CEO of the ACP, says, "If you look at this canal through the eyes of an engineer, it is still so impressive what they did, how imaginative they were." He and other officials stress that, in contrast to the original construction, the challenges facing the expansion mostly involve well-known technologies. "If the Americans could build this whole canal in 10 years," Zubieta says, "we can finish this project in seven."

Third Lane

The new locks' design conserves water -- vital even in tropical Panama.

Diagram by Dogo

Expansion plans for the Panama Canal call for two new sets of triple locks--one at the Atlantic entrance to the waterway and one at the Pacific. Although the new locks will be 65 percent larger than the current locks, the new design incorporates recycling basins that will reduce the amount of water for each transit by 7 percent. Currently, each transit flushes about 52 million gal. of fresh water -- enough to supply a city of 250,000 people -- into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The new locks will accommodate 1200-ft.-long post-Panamax ships displacing 170,000 tons and hauling up to 12,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units. One TEU is the cargo capacity of a standard shipping container. The current maximum capacity is 5000 TEUs. More cargo means more money: The Panama Canal Authority estimates a 35 percent increase in cargo volume through 2025 -- and additional toll revenues of $10 billion. The recycling basins adjacent to each lock chamber are 1400 ft. long, 230 ft. wide and 18 ft. deep. The highest in each set is positioned slightly below the top of the lock chamber; the lowest is just above the chamber's minimum water level. Gravity funnels water from the basins and Gatun Lake through culverts in the lock walls, filling each chamber with 15 million cu. ft. of water and raising ships about 30 ft. in approx-imately 10 minutes. When vessels are lowered, valves reopen and gravity feeds 60 percent of the water back into the basins. Instead of hinged miter gates, the new locks will use paired rolling gates, which have proved reliable at Pittsburgh's Davis Island Lock and Dam since 1885. The gates will roll out of wall recesses on tracks to seal the chambers. For repairs and maintenance, one gate will continue to operate while the other is returned to its recess, which is then sealed and pumped dry. Crews will work on site; traffic will still flow.
Read more: Panama Canal Expansion - Diagram of Panama Canal Locks - Popular Mechanics

Info XXL Expedition

Traumziel Panamakanal

Kreuzfahrt der Extraklasse

Die Reportage von Torsten Mehltretter nimmt den Zuschauer mit auf eine exklusive Reise. Luxus, Exotik und einmalige Naturerlebnisse bilden den Rahmen für das perfekt organisierte Abenteuer an Bord eines Fünf-Sterne-Schiffes. Eine Expeditionskreuzfahrt mit einem großen Ziel: Dem Panamakanal.         Es gibt nur wenige Ziele auf der Erde, die so viel zu bieten haben, wie der Panamakanal. Er ist historisches Bauwerk, architektonische Meisterleistung, Symbol der unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten Amerikas und die berühmteste von Menschenhand erschaffene Verbindung zweier Weltmeere.

Er verbindet den Pazifik mit dem Atlantik

Er verbindet den Pazifik mit dem Atlantik und gilt inzwischen sogar als geografische Grenze zwischen Nord- und Südamerika. Dazu liegt er inmitten der exotischen Landschaft des tropischen Regenwaldes und ist Treffpunkt unterschiedlichster Kulturen. Und zur Zeit ist er wieder voll im Trend. Denn der Mythos, der von der 81,6 Kilometer langen Passage ausgeht, könnte bald erloschen sein. Dann nämlich, wenn der neue Kanal eröffnet wird.     ZDF/Torsten Mehltretter Blaufußtölpel leben auf der unbewohnten Insel. Sie sind den Urlaubern ausgeliefert, weil sie nicht aus dem Stand abheben können. Läuft alles nach Plan, ist es im Jahr 2014 soweit. Pünktlich zum hundertjährigen Jubiläum soll das Mammutprojekt der Kanalerweiterung abgeschlossen sein. Der Neubau weckt eine gewisse Torschlusspanik bei Abenteuer suchenden Reiselustigen. Noch einmal durch den alten Panamakanal - für viele ist das ein Kindheitstraum, dessen Erfüllung allmählich unter Zeitdruck gerät.  

Das Reiseziel Panama ist gefragt

Tourismusunternehmen wissen das und reagieren. Das Reiseziel Panama erlebt eine Renaissance. Kreuzfahrten durch den Kanal sind gefragt wie lange nicht mehr. Und auch die Destinationen auf dem Weg zum Kanal klingen vielversprechend. Aruba, Curacao, Costa Rica, Kuba, Ecuador oder Brasilien. Je nachdem, welche Route der Veranstalter einschlägt. httpv://     ZDF/Torsten Mehltretter Ein Landausflug in Panama steht an. Teile der Mannschaft bringen den Bordeigenen Proviant für die Gäste an Land. Die "Hanseatic" der Hapag-Lloyd-Kreuzfahrten beispielsweise verbindet die Fahrt durch den Kanal mit großen Naturerlebnissen. Grüne Wasserschildkröten und Blaufußtölpel während eines planmäßigen Stops auf der unbewohnten Isla de la Plata in Ecuador zum Beispiel. Und mit etwas Glück entdeckt man auch Delfine und sogar Pottwale auf der Pazifikroute von Peru bis Panama.  

Höhepunkt: Die Kanaldurchfahrt

Doch egal, wie exotisch die anderen Ziele auch sein mögen, der Höhepunkt bleibt die zwölfstündige Kanaldurchfahrt. Ein einzigartiges Spektakel, das die Gäste der "Hanseatic" schon mit Sonnenaufgang auf das Ausguckdeck lockt. 26 Höhenmeter legen die Schiffe während der Fahrt durch die Wasserstraße zurück. Rauf und am Ende wieder runter. In jeweils drei Schleusenkammern. Auf Kurs gehalten von Elektroloks, sogenannte Mulis.     ZDF/Torsten Mehltretter Das Schiff fährt in die Schleuse ein. Die leere Kammer wird mit Wasser aus der vollen Kammer gefüllt. Meter für Meter arbeiten sich Containerriesen und Kreuzfahrtschiffe durch die Schleusenkammern. Einige sind genau nach den Breitenmaßen des Kanals gebaut. An ihnen wird deutlich, warum eine Erweiterung nötig ist. Zentimetergenau müssen sie in den Schleusenkammern auf Kurs gehalten werden. Elektronisch gesteuerte Winden an den Mulis verhindern ein seitliches Schlingern der Stahlkolosse.  

Der Bau dauerte fast 30 Jahre

Dabei ist die "Panamaxklasse" längst nicht mehr das Maß aller Dinge auf See. Die großen Schiffe nehmen weite Umwege in Kauf. Dann geht Panamas Staatskasse leer aus. Das soll sich durch den Umbau ändern. Noch aber geht es durch die fast einhundert Jahre alten Schleusenkammern. Geschichte, die man atmen kann. Fast 30 Jahre dauerte der Bau der Wasserstraße und über 28.000 Menschen starben bis zu ihrer Eröffnung 1914. Den aktuellen, sechsjährigen Umbau will Panama mit 12.000 Arbeitern bewältigen - und mit reichlich Dynamit. Zweimal am Tag gehen die Sprengmeister zu Werke.   Dann wird der Schiffsverkehr gestoppt. Und es knallt - mitten im Regenwald. Was für die Einwohner Panamas ein riesiges Konjunkturpaket ist, ist für die Tierwelt eine Katastrophe. Im Laufe der Jahrzehnte hat sich auf der Inselwelt im Lake Gatun, dem Stausee in der Mitte des Kanals, ein unvergleichlicher Artenreichtum entwickelt. Kapuziner- und Brüllaffen, Faultiere und etliche Fisch- und Vogelarten leben hier. Umzingelt von gigantischen Baustellen in denen Tonnen von Basalt im Minutentakt abgefahren werden.  

Verirrte Krokodile

Vom Deck des Luxusliners sind die Arbeiten gut zu sehen. Wie sehr sie das Ökosystem Regenwald durcheinanderbringen, können die Passagiere der "Hanseatic" leicht erahnen. Krokodiljäger Jose Luis Ortega hat noch genauere Einblicke.     ZDF/Torsten Mehltretter Die Bauarbeiten haben Einfluss auf das Ökosystem Regenwald. Die Tierwelt gerät durcheinander. Krokodiljäger Jose Luis Ortega muss ein Spitzmaulkrokodil einfangen. Der 32-Jährige wird immer dann gerufen, wenn sich ein Reptil in der Baustelle verirrt. Seit die Sprengungen begonnen haben, ist das häufig.   Jose Luis Ortega fängt die Krokodile ohne Betäubung und setzt sie an einer anderen Stelle im Kanal wieder aus. Nicht immer gelingt das Einfangen auf Anhieb. Um ein Haar hätte es Ortega vor laufender Kamera erwischt. "Klar ist der Job gefährlich", gibt er zu, "aber das ganze Leben ist gefährlich".   Mit Material von ZDF

Will the US Become the World’s Largest Exporter of LNG?

BygCaptain StaffOnApril 8, 2012 Sabine Pass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal, Cameron Parish, Louisiana. LNG ship, Celestine River, moored at the unloading berth of Cheniere Energy's $800M terminal following her maiden voyage with the project's first cargo. Image: Bechtel By John R. Siegel (Barrons) By 2017 the U.S. could be the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world, surpassing leading LNG exporters Qatar and Australia. There is one big “if,” however. America can produce more gas, export a surplus, improve the trade deficit, create jobs, generate taxable profits and reduce its dependence on foreign energy if the marketplace is allowed to work and politics doesn’t get in the way. In May 2011 Cheniere Energy received an Energy Department license to export LNG from its Sabine Pass LNG import terminal in Louisiana. Cheniere subsequently reached long-term deals with the U.K.’s BG Group, Spain’s Gas Natural and India’s GAIL. Cheniere is targeting operation in 2016 and plans to export up to 730 billion cubic feet of LNG annually, roughly 3% of current U.S. gas production. Sabine Pass originally was built as an import facility to alleviate projected U.S. gas shortages. Shale-gas technology changed that assumption radically. Now Sabine Pass is attractive because it already possesses much of the infrastructure for an export plant: LNG storage tanks, gas-handling facilities and docking terminals. Only a liquefaction plant is needed to convert natural gas into LNG. Overall, Cheniere can create its export terminal for half the investment required for a new one. With world oil over $100 per barrel, equivalent to $17 per million BTUs of gas, versus domestic natural gas at $2.10 per million BTUs, the opportunity is obvious: Cheniere can deliver its gas to Asia or European customers well below current market prices. Six developers with existing import terminals are following the Sabine Pass model. And Cheniere has another project in Corpus Christi. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, Gulf LNG projects can economically target the lucrative Asia market. By 2017, the U.S. could be exporting upwards of 13 billion cubic feet of LNG per day. But exporters must overcome growing opposition to LNG exports by environmentalists and industrial users of natural gas. Exporters must also get multiple permits from environmentally conscious federal officials. And Rep. Ed Markey (D.-Mass.) has proposed legislation to bar federal approval of any LNG export terminals until 2025. Those who most fear global warming don’t want anyone anywhere to use more fossil fuel, even “cleaner” natural gas. It is uphill for the anti-gas crowd. High oil prices are driving a transition to natural gas, even as fuel for trucks and cars. In the U.S., the T. Boone Pickens Plan would displace gasoline and diesel fuel for compressed natural gas in large trucks. Pickens estimates savings of two million barrels per day of oil imports if the nation’s fleet of 18-wheelers converts to CNG. The Pickens Plan might fail legislatively because it calls for subsidies to fuel the transition. But if CNG’s nearly $2-per-gallon price advantage over gasoline continues, the concept will evolve via natural market forces, as it should. THE ENERGY DEPARTMENT SAYS natural gas has grown its market share in the U.S. in the past three years from 28% to 30%. Globally, the trend is similar, and LNG is integral to the global supply chain. Despite the recession, global LNG demand has been growing at a 6% to 8% annual clip for the past 10 years. When demand collapsed in 2009, prices in Asian markets fell 50% to about $5 per million BTUs. But the price drop was also driven by the rapid growth in U.S. shale gas. U.S. natural-gas supply — flatlined for a decade at 19 trillion to 20 trillion cubic feet annually — increased 15% in the past three years due to the shale-gas revolution. Technology advances created a supply perturbation. As U.S. gas prices plunged, LNG cargoes bound for the U.S. had no market. Global LNG markets are growing again. By late 2010, the main Asian consumers — Japan, Korea and Taiwan — were seeking more LNG, while new customers such as Thailand were entering the market. The Japan tsunami put a call on LNG imports to supplant Japan’s nuclear shutdowns, and with increasing demand, Asian markets rebounded to the $15-per-million-BTU range. After the tsunami, Germany plans to close its nuclear plants. Most of Germany’s (and all of Europe’s) new supply will be gas-fired. Given the choices, would Europe rather grow its gas supply from Russia, North Africa or the U.S.? The policy implications should be obvious, even to the U.S. Estimates of the job benefits from U.S. LNG projects depend on a variety of assumptions. Roughly 25,000 direct construction jobs would be created if all the projects are built. Increasing the U.S. natural-gas production base by another 13 billion cubic feet might translate to 450,000 direct and indirect jobs and $16 billion in annual tax revenue for federal and state coffers. It’s easier to forecast improved trade balances. Exporting 13 BCF per day of LNG could generate about $45 billion annually. Reaching Pickens’ goals could offset another $70 billion annually of oil imports. Exporting energy, however, rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Pickens wants cheap natural gas for his 18-wheelers and opposes LNG exports. Industrial gas users argue that a vibrant LNG industry would propel domestic gas prices higher. A study by Deloitte said that exporting six 6 BCF per day of LNG would raise wellhead gas prices by 12 cents per million BTU (about 1% on a retail basis). Advocates of “energy independence” argue that exporting LNG would tie U.S. natural gas prices to global markets. The Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy is considering whether exporting LNG is in the public interest. In the meantime — shades of Keystone XL — the department has effectively put a moratorium on new LNG export licenses. Energy’s decision-making process balances the extent to which exporting LNG drives up prices with the economic benefits of increased production and energy exports. The price assessment comes at a time when U.S. gas fetches the same price in constant dollars as it did in 1975. Producers are now shutting down production and lowering exploration budgets. The shale-gas “job machine” is now in reverse. Energy’s price study, released in January, found that exporting six BCF per day would increase wellhead prices by 50 to 60 cents per million BTU by 2026. The study has a myriad of assumptions and scenarios, the most fundamental of which is future gas production. In 2007, Energy predicted the U.S. would be importing 12.3 BCF a day of LNG by 2030 due to falling gas production. But primarily because of the shale-technology phenomenon, wellhead prices have tumbled from $6.25 six years ago, even as demand increased by eight BCF per day. That demand figure is larger than the six BCF assumption of the Energy study. The Energy Department is not particularly to blame, as most forecasters got it just as wrong on gas production. Ideally, the Energy Department should move quickly and recognize free-market principles. And the administration could send a clear policy signal that natural gas is integral to the country’s energy future and that exporting LNG is good economics and consistent with its 2010 State of the Union address to double U.S. exports over five years and create two million new jobs. But Energy is moving slowly, and administration signals on natural gas are mostly lip service. The economic-benefits study should have been done by the end of March. But last week, Energy delayed its release until late summer, and said there is no timeline to review results and develop policy recommendations. Translation: after the election. While we are fantasizing, the government could stop singling out the job-creating energy industry for higher taxes, emphasize cost/benefit analysis before adding further regulation to energy production, and get out of the business of regulating LNG exports altogether, which smacks of protectionism. To that end, should we also give veto authority to the Agriculture Department over grain exports (to lower corn prices) and the Commerce Department over auto, airplane and smartphone exports? JOHN R. SIEGEL is the president of J.J. Richardson, a registered investment advisor that manages a hedge fund in Bethesda, Md. Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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