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Panama Canal Requests Proposals for Pacific Entrance Dredging

PANAMA CITY, Panama, September 11, 2007 -- In a move that will set in motion the next phase of its Expansion Program, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has released its request for proposal (RFP) for the Canal’s Pacific entrance dredging. Different from the dry excavation, this project will deepen and widen the Canal’s Pacific entrance channel to ensure that longer, wider ships can reach the new locks.

The document is available at: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/procsales/buy.html.

The scope of work will include the dredging of approximately 9.1 million cubic meters (321 cubic ft.) and will widen the 8.9 mile-long navigation channels at least 218 meters, deepening them to a maximum level of -15.5 meters Mean Low Water Springs (MLWS).

“The Pacific entrance dredging is integral to expansion and the construction of the new lane. The Pacific side’s geological characteristics make it more challenging than the Atlantic side. We will need a firm with the specialized equipment and experience to meet the demands of the project,” said ACP Project Administration Division Manager John Langman. “We’re proud that expansion is moving forward on schedule and we look forward to attracting qualified firms for this next stage.”

Prior to the release of the Pacific entrance dredging RFP, on August 7 the Panamanian National Environmental Authority (ANAM) approved the environmental impact study (EIS) for the project. With this approval, the ACP can now move forward with the process to select a firm.

Bids for the Pacific entrance dredging are due January 28, 2008, and important dates in the process include a site visit September 19 and a discussion meeting September 20. The ACP will ultimately evaluate proposals that meet the project’s needs based on a combination of best value and individual consultations with bidding firms.

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.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP's Web site: www.pancanal.com For Panama Canal video, please visit www.thenewsmarket.com/panamacanal.