International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

Representatives from the five institutions that have signed agreements for financing the Panama Canal Expansion Program took part in the annual visit to the Canal in January.

“This visit is part of the agreement signed between the Panama Canal Authority and the five institutions that have provided partial financing for the Expansion Program” Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano said at the end of the tour.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has held annual visits since 2008 to oversee the program’s progress. The representatives visit the expansion site to verify that the different aspects of the financing agreement are met.

This year the delegation visited project sites on the Atlantic and Pacific sides and received details about the overall progress of the project which is 50 percent complete. At the beginning of 2013 several projects were completed such as the dredging of the navigation channels on the Pacific and Atlantic sides.

Dredging along Culebra Cut began in March 2008. Culebra Cut is difficult to access because of the type of material and it is also at the narrowest portion of the Canal’s navigation channel. ACP equipment was used for this project including the dredges Mindi Rialto M. Christensen and Quibian I and the drill barges Thor and Baru.

On March 6 the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced the completion of dredging to deepen and widen the navigational channels along Culebra Cut.

In addition contracted equipment was also used: the dredge II Principe property of the Jan de Nul Group and the dredge Cornelius property of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V.

A total of 3.2 million cubic meters (4.1 million cubic yards) were removed during the deepening of Culebra Cut.

In early March the project achieved another milestone when the first million cubic meters of concrete were poured in the locks construction site on the Atlantic side. This represents 1800 cubic meters of reinforced concrete poured in the wall of the southeast wing at the point where the vessels will enter the locks from Gatun Lake.

During the recent visit to these sites the delegation also received reports on the safety and occupational health environmental safety and the social aspects of the projects – the strict requirements that guarantee the financing of the program.

The representatives also received updates on the waterway’s performance during the last fiscal year the Panama Canal forecast budgeted activities and the program’s financial requirements for 2013 the different conflict resolution and claim mechanisms and the construction of the bridge on the Atlantic side of the Canal.

The delegation included experts from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) the European Investment Bank (EIB) Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) International Financing Corporation (IFC) and the Andean Development Corporation (CAF).

In December 2008 ACP signed agreements with a group of five multinational institutions to procure financing of up to US$2.3 billion required for the Expansion Program.

In total agreements were signed for US$800 million with the JBIC US$500 million with the EIB US$400 million with the IDB US$300 million with the IFC and US$300 million with the CAF.
To date the JBIC (US$ 800 million) the EIB (US$100 million) and the IDB (US$100 million) have been paid out for the program.