The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, announced that the Panama Canal expansion, completed by 75% so far, will be operating at full capacity in 2016.

Accompanied by the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP ), Jorge Luis Quijano, and Minister for Canal Affairs, Roberto Roy, Martinelli remarked that the track, which is “the icon, the most important symbol for which the world comes to Panama, will be functioning and working at capacity in 2016.”

Martinelli congratulated the authorities, workers and companies involved in the construction of the canal expansion.

The consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), led by the Spanish Sacyr and the Italian Impregilo, took up the work of the expansion project at the end of February, after the total paralysis earlier this month claiming the lack of funds caused of cost overruns of more than 1,600 million.

Work resumed after the AC and GUPC consortium reached an agreement, announced on March 14, to inject new funds to the project. The agreement includes a contribution of $100 million by the AC and as many of GUPC, along with a contribution of 400 million of the insurance company Zurich.

Martinelli said today, after inspecting the land where the project is developed, the work of this magnificent canal for the benefit of the world will conclude in late 2015 or early 2016.

Quiijano confirmed to journalists that the works are carried out by 75% and that most of the contractors have returned to work after the arrest.

The administrator of the Panama Canal informed moreover that next July the first of the last gates, built in Italy to install the locks, will start to arrive.

The total expansion project, which began in September 2007, recorded about 70% complete before the stoppage of the work, with an investment of 5.25 billion dollars. It’s principle was to be completed in October 2014.

The expanded Panama Canal will increase from 300 to 600 million tons of annual freight capacity, through which about 6% of world trade will pass.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica