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Finger-pointing begins in Panama Canal row

Published Mon, Jan 20, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[PANAMA CITY/MADRID] A bitter dispute between the Panama Canal and a Spanish-led consortium of construction companies over the spiralling cost of expanding one of the world's busiest waterways was years in the making.

The two sides are at odds over who should pay for US$1.6 billion in cost overruns to build a third set of locks for the canal, the main part of the expansion of the 80 km cargo route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The impasse over the 100-year-old waterway could delay construction, which aims to double the canal's shipping capacity and bring in billions of dollars in new revenue for Panama.

Reuters' interviews with people involved in the 2009 bidding for the contract, local officials and leaked diplomatic cables reveal concerns that the Grupo Unidos por El Canal (GUPC) consortium would not be able to fi…

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