The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has warned that the suspension announced for Jan. 20 by Grupo Unidos por el Canal S.A. (GUPC) is not valid, lacks merit and goes against what is established in the contract for the design and construction of the third set of locks.
Currently, the production levels are low in the new locks project without any justification, ACP said.
The suspension announced on Dec. 30 and reiterated by GUPC on Jan. 16 in a letter to the ACP, is based on the wrongful application of Sub-Clause 16.1 of the contract - cited by the consortium to justify the suspension - because this clause provides the right to suspend work only when the employer has failed to issue payment to the contractor, ACP said. However, this is not the case and, therefore, such notice of intent to suspend work lacks merit. In fact, ACP said it pays GUPC within the first 15 days after the invoice is presented, significantly in advance of the contractually-stated period of 56 days.
Furthermore, over the weekend, ACP said it maintained communication with the head of Sacyr, leader of the consortium GUPC, to find a solution to the situation.
ACP has rigorously monitored the developments in the field in order to keep track of everything that involves a reduction of work and the suspension. On Monday, the ACP administrator, executives and technical personnel conducted an inspection of the construction site in the Pacific to witness the progress.
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