The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reaffirmed on Monday its commitment to finishing the expansion program despite the threatened suspension by Spanish-led multinational construction firm GUPC over a payment dispute.
ACP administrator Jorge Quijano issued a statement to regain the confidence of the international community, stressing that they are working toward a resolution and promising that the project would be completed.
"Our clients are the number one priority and we are working to resolve the situation in the best possible way, under the legal framework of the contract, to guarantee that the expansion program will be finished," said Quijano.
He also said that the dispute with the construction firm did not affect the canal's normal operation.
GUPC (Grupo Unidos por el Canal) has threatened to halt work on a set of locks on Jan. 20 over unexpected additional expenses allegedly caused by faulty geotechnical studies done by the ACP.
The consortium, which includes Spain's Sacyr Vallehermoso, Italy's Impregilo, Belgium's Jan de Nul and Panama's CUSA, demands an additional 1.6 billion U.S. dollars, which would increase the original cost by 50 percent.