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Ports, Shipping Companies Retool for Bigger Panama Canal

Shipbuilders are cranking out ever-bigger container vessels and the world’s major ports are dredging deeper, all on account of an ambitious multibillion-dollar project to widen the Panama Canal—an endeavor currently stalled by a contract dispute. More than just the canal is tangled up in the acrimonious battle between Panama and the builders over $1.6 billion in cost overruns. "There are many cities, countries and port authorities who are spending billions of dollars in anticipation of the traffic that will come from that newly expanded canal," said Adam Putnam, Florida’s commissioner of agriculture. "So, there will be an impact if there is an extended delay." The dispute so far has halted construction for two weeks and now threatens to delay the project by at least three years beyond the proposed completion date of December 2015. Negotiators say they are hopeful of a settlement as soon as Tuesday. Still, even […]

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Panama Canal chief reports progress in dispute

Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano says the agency has reached tentative agreement on some issues in efforts to resolve a dispute that has halted work on a major expansion plan. But Quijano also says the Authority might take over the project if no final agreement with the contractors is reached this week. He spoke Wednesday during a chamber of commerce meeting. The contractors say work has gone $1.6 billion over budget and they have demanded the authority pay. The dispute has threatened to delay the biggest expansion of the canal since it opened a century ago. © 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use . Latest News Latest Winter Games News ©2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Terms under which this site is provided. […]

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Panama Canal Expansion on 'Brink of Failure' Due to Financing Dispute

Work to expand the Panama Canal so bigger ships can fit through the 100-year-old waterway has virtually ground to a halt, and the consortium in charge of the construction effort said the project is now on the "brink of failure" after talks broke down between the contractors and Panama’s government over who is going to pay for $1.6 billion in cost overruns. The storied canal, built by American engineers, is among the world’s most vital shipping routes, acting as a shortcut between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans that shaves nearly two weeks off travel times for ships that otherwise would need to travel around South America at Cape Horn. But the canal has become too narrow for the world’s ever-larger ships, including those hauling products such as natural gas and other fuels. Countries including the U.S., which is fast becoming a net exporter of natural gas as it uses […]

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Panama Canal Expansion on ‘Brink of Failure’ Due to Financing Dispute

Work to expand the Panama Canal so bigger ships can fit through the 100-year-old waterway has virtually ground to a halt, and the consortium in charge of the construction effort said the project is now on the "brink of failure" after talks broke down between the contractors and Panama’s government over who is going to pay for $1.6 billion in cost overruns. The storied canal, built by American engineers, is among the world’s most vital shipping routes, acting as a shortcut between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans that shaves nearly two weeks off travel times for ships that otherwise would need to travel around South America at Cape Horn. But the canal has become too narrow for the world’s ever-larger ships, including those hauling products such as natural gas and other fuels. Countries including the U.S., which is fast becoming a net exporter of natural gas as it uses […]

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Panama Canal Expansion: Standoff Worries Locals

ABOARD THE MAERSK BATAM, On the Panama Canal—Everything about this Danish-flagged ship is big. It is longer than two football fields, as high as a seven-story building and carries 3,000 cargo containers weighing 30,000 tons. But as shipyards from India to Korea continue to build vessels that are longer, wider and taller, the Maersk Batam actually is a midsize ship. Some people even call it small. "Not that there’s anything wrong with smaller ships," says Capt. Mike Hands, a Briton who has spent 40 of his 57 years working on ships. "Smaller ships go to smaller ports, which are always more interesting," he says, as the Batam begins its 10-hour passage through the Panama Canal. Interesting isn’t what the Panama Canal is about. Panama’s government has kicked off a multibillion-dollar project to widen the canal’s navigation channels and build larger locks—the pools of water that lift boats from sea […]

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Panama Canal expansion project: Have American fears come true?

A view of Panama canal construction work on August 20, 2013. The US has a lot riding on a successful expansion of the Panama canal More than four years ago, when Panama awarded the lucrative contract to expand its inter-oceanic canal to a mostly European consortium, the United States was not pleased. An American company whose bid was unsuccessful, Bechtel, thought the winning tender would barely pay for pouring the concrete and that the consortium would probably try to renegotiate the price at some stage during the construction process. Some might argue that those American doubts have been justified, especially in view of the ongoing economic row between the European consortium and the Panamanian government agency that runs the waterway. The spat has threatened to bring work to a grinding halt , unless the two parties manage to resolve a $1.6bn (£1bn) dispute over cost overruns. A series of […]

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Petrovietnam Suspends Venezuela Oil Production

Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, or Petrovietnam, has suspended production of crude oil at a block in Venezuela, citing a tough economic conditions. "Basically, we are just slowing things down, and we haven’t decided to withdraw from the project yet," said Pham Ngoc Khue, head of the investment and development division of PVEP, the Petrovietnam unit that jointly operates the Junin-2 block in Venezuela’s Orinoco belt with Petróleos de Venezuela SA. "The investment environment there is not suitable for us right now—and even for several other foreign investors," Mr. Khue said Tuesday. PVEP previously said the project started producing oil in October 2012, with an initial target of 200,000 barrels of crude a day by 2016. The block is Petrovietnam’s only operation in Venezuela. A Petrovietnam official said on condition of anonymity that skyrocketing inflation in Venezuela makes the cost of doing business there too high. Consumer prices in […]

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Talks Fail to Resolve Dispute Over Panama Canal Expansion Costs

The Panama Canal Authority and a consortium of international companies overseeing a multibillion-dollar construction project to widen the canal met on Tuesday but failed to resolve a dispute over huge cost overruns that threaten to derail the historic undertaking. The Panama Canal opened in the summer of 1914, and 100 years later the 50-mile waterway is two-thirds of the way through a massive expansion project that would allow ever-larger ships to pass through. The project could quadruple the government’s $1 billion in annual revenue, which comes mostly from toll charges. But GUPC, the consortium of construction firms led by Spain’s Sacyr SA SCYR.MC -2.42% Sacyr S.A. Spain: Madrid € 3.46 -0.09 -2.42% Jan. 8, 2014 12:12 pm Volume : 7.42M P/E Ratio N/A Market Cap €1.58 Billion Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per Employee €153,727 01/07/14 Talks Fail to Resolve Dispute … 01/06/14 Spanish Official in Panama to … 01/02/14 […]

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