Skip to main content


Trouble at the Panama Canal

Your money or your locks

Jan 3rd 2014, 20:40 


THE $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is one of the world’s great infrastructure projects, aimed at enabling giant mega-tankers to pass through the 100-year-old waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific. 

So a threat by an international consortium, led by Spain’s Sacyr, to halt construction work on January 20th if the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) doesn’t pay it $1.6 billion for cost overruns, is serious. 

The amount it is claiming is fully half the $3.2 billion it bid in 2009 for its part of the project.

Jorge Quijano, administrator of the PCA, told The Economist that the authority would not pay the money because cost increases were accounted for in the contract. He says he is prepared to go through a three-stage dispute-settlement process, culminating at the International Chamber of Commerce in Miami if necessary, that could take at least six months. “It won’t be easy,” he acknowledges.

Mr Quijano says that the contract stipulates that the consortium's work on a third set of locks should continue despite disputes. As a result, he argues–perhaps optimistically–that there will be no delay in finishing the project. The completion date had already been put back from 2014 to June 2015.

The conflict has been brewing for more than a year. The consortium, which includes Sacyr, Italy's Salini Impregilo, Belgium's Jan de Nul and Panama's Constructora Urbana, initially said that the PCA’s rejection of its preferred mix of concrete had added $585m to the cost of the expansion. Mr Quijano says that in December the consortium accused the authority of further “disruption”. In his words, this “magically” added $900m or so to the cost.

On January 2nd Sacyr said the PCA was guilty of “serious breaches” in the contract. 

Since then, the president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, has vowed to travel to Spain and Italy, claiming their governments have a “moral responsibility” to help settle the dispute.

 The Spanish government may send its public-works minister to Panama for talks.

Mr Quijana insists that there is no danger the project could be scuppered by the row, even if the Sacyr-led consortium walks away. 

He says the authority has $1.3 billion in unused funds that could be put into finishing construction, not counting up to $600m in insurance from Zurich North America.

Some have suggested that the winning bid was too low in the first place because the European firms, battered by the euro-zone crisis in their home markets, were desperate for international contracts. (Indeed, El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, has quoted a Wikileaks cable attributed to United States diplomatic officials saying that Bechtel, a losing American bidder, thought the Sacyr-led bid wouldn’t even cover the cost of cement.) 

In that case, the PCA should have smelt a rat.

 But Mr Quijana calls this nonsense. 

He says the winning bid was lower than that of the Bechtel-led consortium because its design required fewer construction materials, and stands by the feasibility of the Sacyr-led project.

“Each one was a different project,” he says.

(Photo credit: AFP)

Popular posts from this blog


While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
Perhaps it is time for a GLOBAL taste test ???

In alphabetical order by Country....



Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 

It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

INDIA 2016 : Mango production in state likely to take a hit this year

TNN | May 22, 2016, 12.32 PM IST

Mangaluru: Vagaries of nature is expected to take a toll on the production of King of Fruits - Mango - in Karnataka this year. A combination of failure of pre-monsoon showers at the flowering and growth stage and spike in temperature in mango growing belt of the state is expected to limit the total production of mango to an estimated 12 lakh tonnes in the current season as against 14 lakh tonnes in the last calendar year.

However, the good news for fruit lovers is that this could see price of mangoes across varieties decrease marginally by 2-3%. This is mainly on account of 'import' of the fruit from other mango-growing states in India, said M Kamalakshi Rajanna, chairperson, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd.

Karnataka is the third largest mango-growing state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Inaugurating a two-day Vasanthotsava organized by Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama and the Corporation at P…

MEET MELANIA TRUMP: The 5'11" supermodel married to Donald Trump

Aly Weisman, INSIDER

Sep. 2, 2015, 3:28 PM 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While Donald Trump loves to be the center of media attention, his third and current wife, Melania Trump, is a bit more camera shy.

The Slovenian-born model keeps a lower profile than her husband, doing philanthropy work, raising their son, working on a jewelry collection with QVC, and creating a $150-an-ounce caviar moisturizer.

With Trump on the campaign trail, Melania has stoically stood by his side.

But who exactly is Melania and where did she come from? Learn about Trump's other half here ...

Melania Knauss was born April 26, 1970, in Slovenia.


The 5'11" brunette began her modeling career at 16, and signed with a modeling agency in Milan at 18.

Chris Hondros/Newsmakers via Getty

She took a break from modeling to get her degree in design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.



But after graduating, her modeling career took off and Me…