Financial trouble besets Panama Canal widening

Financial problems are causing uncertainty at the Panama Canal expansion project.

The Panamá News said that Geodis Willson Italia SPA, the shipper that brought massive gates for a new lock from Italy, has not been paid and is seeking via Panama’s maritime courts to sequester them until it gets its $47,850,785.50 bill paid.

Meanwhile, other news outlets in Panamá are reporting that the Unidos por el Canal, the consortium doing the expansion project, faces a $1.6 billion cost overrun. The consortium gave the Panama Canal authority three weeks to settle the issue and threatened to suspend work on its $3.2 billion contract.

The canal job totals $5.2 billion and is designed to let much larger ships use the facility. The job is said to be about 75 percent finished. The job is supposed to be done in June 2015.

The Panama News warned that international recognition of the project’s problems is just beginning and a reaction by foreign investors and would-be foreign residents of Panama could be more harmful to Panama’s economy than the canal expansion fiasco itself.

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