Panama Canal Awards Final Expansion Excavation Contract

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) awarded FCC-ICA-Meco the fourth and final dry excavation (PAC-4) contract today, which will help create an access channel linking the new Pacific locks with the Canal’s existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal).

The contracting process began July 31, 2009 when the ACP released its request for proposals (RFP) for the excavation project. On December 22, 2009, the ACP received four bids for the contract. Following a comprehensive review, the ACP determined that the lowest bidder, FCC-ICA-Meco – a Spanish, Mexican and Costa Rican joint venture, met the requirements of the RFP and awarded the contract to this consortium.

“Today marks another significant step forward for the Expansion Program and the ACP. Not only does this project represent the final contract for the Pacific access channel dry excavation, but it is also the last major Expansion Program contract. We are proud to have reached such a pivotal point,” said ACP Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management Jorge L. Quijano. “FCC-ICA-Meco is a consortium of seasoned, well-skilled and world-renowned professionals with great expertise in construction and engineering. We look forward to partnering with them and appreciate the interest of all the competing firms.”

Below are the companies that submitted bids and the corresponding bid prices.





Jan de Nul – Chec




ISC Panamá


As the second largest contract and most complex project after the new set of locks, PAC-4 represents a key portion of expansion’s new access channel linking the new Pacific locks with the Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal).

The scope of work will include 26 million cubic meters of unclassified excavation, the installation of a backfilled cellular cofferdam water barrier and the construction of an earth-rock filled dam that will create part of the access channel’s eastern bank.

Other work under this contract includes:
• constructing access roads;
• managing disposal site areas for excavated or dredged material;
• installing a dewatering system to remove surface and underground water;
• clearing unexploded ordnances (UXOs) – remnants from former U.S. military training facilities in the Canal area; and,
• other miscellaneous tasks such as demolition work.

Moreover, the ACP will ensure all of the work meets specific environmental requirements.

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.


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