Three consortiums have entered bids for the largest single contract in the US$ 5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal. Construction of new locks on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the canal is expected to cost US$ 2.73 billion.

Each lock structure will have three chambers and water re-circulation basins. They are expected to double the canal's freight capacity by allowing longer and wider ships to navigate it.

The consortiums are Consorcio Canal, comprising ACS, Acciona, FCC and Hochtief, a second group comprising Bechtel, Mitsubishi and Taisei, and a third composed of Impregilo, Sacyr and Panamanian contractor Constructora Urbana. A fourth consortium comprising Alstom, Bilfinger Berger, Bouygues, Construtora Queiroz Galvo and Vinci had previously expressed interest, but subsequently withdrew from the bidding process.

The contract is expected to be awarded in June

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