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MARITIME AFFAIRS

Arbitration board warns of inflated figures

Temas:

In a decision that awarded $17.5 million to Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), the consortium building the third set of locks for the Panama Canal expansion, the Board of Conflict Resolution warned that the methodology of calculations on claims made by the consortium may be "artificially inflating" its costs.

The amount granted by the board is less than half of the $45 million that GUPC had claimed. According to Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano, the board hired its own experts to analyze the costs.

The payment must be made within 28 days, though either party can appeal the decision to an independent arbitrator.

The claim was based on cost overruns due to days of mourning declared by the government in 2011 and 2012 following the death of two former presidents, as well as a disturbance in Colón in October 2012.

CLAIM

In its decision, the board pointed out that GUPC overestimated the impact of the work stoppages. The board is composed of three engineers who analyze claims brought by the contractor.

The ACP said that the inflation of costs is one of the complaints it has made with the claims filed by GUPC.

"GUPC is still juggling figures, and their figures are consistently inflated," the ACP said.

The ACP said that it will remain firm in its verification procedures of bills submitted by GUPC, and will pay only those claims that are properly supported.

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