Panama City, Panama, October 30, 2015 - As part of its ongoing evaluation and commitment to communicating updates, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced today that it has received updated information from Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC), the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the Third Set of Locks, regarding the localized seepage found in the concrete sill between the lower and middle chamber of the Canal's expanded Pacific Locks.
In a recent letter, GUPC wrote that the localized seepage was the result of insufficient steel reinforcement in the area which was subjected to stress from extreme condition testing. After careful examination of all the other sills in both lock complexes, GUPC stated that in addition to reinforcing the sill that presented the issue, they would also reinforce the first and second sill in the Cocoli Locks and the first three sills in the Atlantic-facing Agua Clara Locks as a preventative measure, though these sills have not presented any issue.
GUPC also verbally indicated that the completion date for the Expansion Project will remain April 2016, as planned; however, the ACP is awaiting formal confirmation from GUPC, in the form of a comprehensive report which should also include the root cause of the detected filtrations.
GUPC's contract with the ACP clearly states that the group is responsible for all corrections that may be required. The contractor has an obligation to ensure the long-term performance on all aspects of the construction of the locks and to complete the Expansion Project following the quality standards established in the contract.
As this process evolves and subsequent to our evaluation of GUPC's findings, the ACP will continue to assess the situation and communicate next steps.