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Panama Canal Expansion Underway

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Traffic is up as the Panama Canal awards the first construction, financial and legal contracts in its $5.2 billion expansion.

BY CHRONICLE STAFF

Alberto Aleman is a busy man these days. The administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is overseeing a historic $5.2 billion expansion of the waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Last week, the ACP awarded its first construction project contract for the expansion.  That follows contracts awarded to financial and legal advisors during the past six months.

"Panamas strategic importance in the global logistics and transport network is expected to increase considerably," U.S.-based consultancy Global Insight said last week. "This implies that international competition for the contracts in the Canal is bound to be fierce."

More than 220 companies attended an ACP conference in March on the bidding and contracting process.

The new contract comes as the canal reports 2007 revenues of $1.7 billion and an increase in net tonnage and total transits...

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