A Spanish-led consortium said on Friday it had struck a deal resolving a financial dispute over its expansion of the Panama Canal, which handles five percent of world maritime trade.
The multi-billion-dollar project to build extra locks on the 80-kilometre (50-mile) waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans has been plagued by disagreements over who will pay for an estimated $1.6 billion (1.2 billion euros) in cost overruns.
The GUPC consortium led by Spain's Sacyr announced "a final agreement in principle" after negotiations with the Panama Canal Authority.
The deal offers co-financing of the canal project while awaiting the result of abritration, which would assign final responsibility for the cost overruns, the consortium said.
Paperwork was underway for the deal to be signed "shortly", it said in a statement.
"GUPC expects the prompt conclusion of the agreement and the financing with the aim of executing the works and completing the project efficiently," it said.