Monday, January 06, 2014

Spanish minister in Panama to end US$1.6b canal row

PANAMA CITY: A Spanish cabinet minister launched mediation efforts in Panama on Monday to resolve a US$1.6 billion dispute threatening to halt the expansion of the Central American nation's vital canal.
Public Works Minister Ana Pastor held separate meetings with Panama's president and executives of the Spanish-led consortium that has threatened to stop the project this month unless local authorities pay for the massive cost overruns.
After the two meetings, Pastor said the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) consortium wanted to negotiate a way out of the impasse.
"The commitment of GUPC is to resolve everything within the contract and for that reason they will sit down for dialogue," she said.
"We are trying to reach an agreement that will be good for everybody," Pastor said after talks with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.

Martinelli said the consortium and the Panama Canal Authority need to find a solution, even if it means going through international arbitration.
"Surely solutions will be found within the meeting. This is a project of global scope for Spain, Panama and the maritime community," he said.
Pastor met first with 16 GUPC executives, including the head of Spanish builder Sacyr, Manuel Manriquez. She will meet later with canal authority officials.
"The Spanish government will not support Sacyr with money. This is an issue between a company" and Panamanian authorities, Spain's ambassador Jesus Silva told reporters.
The construction group, which includes Impreglio of Italy, Belgium's Jan de Nul of Belgium and Constructora Urbana of Panama, warned on December 30 that it would suspend work in 21 days if authorities failed to pay for extra "unforeseen" charges.
  • The expansion project aims to make the 80-kilometre (50-mile) waterway, which handles five per cent of global maritime trade, big enough to handle new, giant cargo ships that can carry 12,000 containers.
  • Currently the canal can handle ships large enough to carry 5,000 containers.
The United States built the canal between 1904 and 1914 and had full control of the waterway until handing it over to Panama in late 1999.
The consortium began work on a third set of larger canal locks in 2009 and expects to complete construction in June 2015, already nine months over the contractual date. Work is about 70 per cent complete.
The overall cost of the project has been estimated at US$5.2 billion.
A year ago, GUPC demanded that the Panama Canal Authority pay the extra US$1.6 billion for the extra costs.
Sacyr says the extra charges are related to technical and geological matters, cement ingredients, weather conditions as well as tax, labour and financial issues.
Jose Pelaez, in charge of building the third set of locks, said Saturday that the rising price tag was partly due to problems in the regional geology that the Canal Authority had not detected.
On Sunday, the Panama Canal Authority said that the contractor's claims "have no legal standing and are not clear," and are not reason enough to halt the project.
"We're being cornered," canal administrator Jorge Quijano said, adding that Panama cannot become "hostage to a contractor."
Canal officials say there was already a four-month delay shortly after the project began caused by the reversal of a GUPC plan to use lower-quality cement.
Moreover, the consortium had "14 months before submitting their bid to closely study the components of the project" in order to submit a "solid" bid.

2 comments:

  1. Panama: conflit sur un surcoût des travaux d'agrandissement du canal....

    L'Autorité du canal de Panama (ACP) a proposé mardi un investissement commun au consortium chargé de l'agrandissement de la voie interocéanique, qui juge l'engagement de l'ACP insuffisant pour régler le conflit qui oppose les deux entités au sujet d'un surcoût considérable des travaux.

    Au terme d'une seconde réunion mardi avec les dirigeants de l'ACP, les responsables du consortium international Groupe Uni pour le Canal (GUPC) ont proposé dans un bref communiqué que l'autorité du canal s'engage à verser "une avance de 400 millions de dollars" dans les travaux afin de "trouver une solution définitive" au conflit qui les oppose.

    Une somme quatre fois supérieure à ce qu'avait proposé l'ACP après une première rencontre mardi. L'autorité proposait alors de garantir l'injection de 183 millions de dollars - dont 83 déjà provisionnés - pour les travaux dans les deux mois. En guise de contrepartie, elle avait demandé au GUPC de s'engager à verser de son côté "100 millions de dollars" dans les mêmes conditions.

    "S'ils n'acceptent pas la proposition et ne lèvent pas la menace de suspension des travaux, nous pourrons si nécessaire être conduits à rompre le contrat", avait alors menacé l'administrateur de l'ACP, Jorge Quijano. Ce dernier plaçait toutefois peu d'espoir dans le succès de cette proposition, reconnaissant que le consortium international était davantage favorable à une "solution de long terme".

    L'origine du conflit

    Dans un courrier du 30 décembre, le géant du BTP espagnol Sacyr, actionnaire majoritaire du GUPC, menaçait de suspendre le chantier dans un délai de 21 jours si l'ACP ne versait pas la somme de 1,6 milliard de dollars (environ 1,2 milliard d'euros) supposée couvrir les surcoûts du chantier..................http://www.eco-reconstructions.com/2014/01/spanish-minister-in-panama-to-end-us16b.html
    8/1/14

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  2. Sacyr rechaza la oferta de Panamá y pide 159 millones más.....

    La Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP) y el Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) -que lidera la española Sacyr- han puesto sobre la mesa de negociación sus condiciones para evitar la suspensión de las obras de ampliación de la infraestructura.

    Tras la mediación realizada el lunes por la ministra española de Fomento, Ana Pastor -quien se desplazó a Panamá y logró que las partes en conflicto aceptaran abrir una vía de diálogo, hasta entonces enquistada-, la ACP ofreció al consorcio liderado por Sacyr aportar 134 millones de euros para continuar con el proyecto, a cambio de que la contratista aportara otros 73 millones y renunciara a suspender su ejecución.

    El guante de la ACP fue recogido por el GUPC, pero éste también puso su propia oferta sobre la mesa. En concreto, el consorcio liderado por la constructora que preside Manuel Manrique, aceptó aportar de su bolsillo la cifra que le reclama la Autoridad del Canal, pero consideró que la aportación panameña debería ser de 293 millones, 159 más de lo ofrecido.

    La negociación, por tanto, no ha llegado a puerto y el tiempo apremia. De mantenerse lo anunciado por el GUPC, su intención es paralizar las obras de ampliación del Canal el próximo 20 de enero, en algo menos de dos semanas, si no se le reconocen unos sobrecostes de más de 1.200 millones de euros.
    http://www.elmundo.es/economia/2014/01/07/52cc7d37ca47414c528b4598.html
    8/1/14

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