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AGRIBUSINESS: Panama Canal Cost Overruns, Jeopardizing Completion

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The dispute is still ongoing between the Panama Canal Authority and contractors hired to expand the 48 mile-long canal with a third set of locks to accommodate more ships.

The argument is over who will pay for almost $2 billion in cost overruns.

The contractors say they want a funding plan co-financing any additional costs, but point out that the final decision will be reached through international arbitration procedures.

The canal expansion project's completion was supposed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the original canal's construction this year, but other delays have already pushed the date back into 2015.

Speaking last month, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition Mike Steenhoek says any additional delays are not ideal, "[It's] certainly in no ones best interest."

Last year the expansion project was 72 percent complete, according to the canal expansion's website, with construction on the third set of locks about 66 percent complete.

Steenhoek says, "We think that agriculture, particularly the soybean industry is among those industries best positioned to immediately benefit from that Panama Canal expansion."


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