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New Construction Project Brings Jobs and Builds Skills

Date: 13-MAY-2004

Barge Built by the ACP in Panama as Part of Modernization Plan

Panama, May 13, 2004 - The Panama Canal Authority's (ACP) Industrial Shipyard Division announced today plans to construct a new barge - built entirely on-site in Panama. The assembly of the barge will provide ACP employees with new skills, training and technology education. This investment is part of the Canal's Permanent Modernization Program, the ACP's long-term strategic business plan.

The barge will support four drilling rigs - equipment that will be used to carry out work and maintenance in different locations of the Canal. Throughout the Canal's almost 90 years of service to the international maritime industry, barges have played a pivotal role to the Canal's construction and maintenance.

"The new barge will be a great asset to Canal operations. By building it here, in Panama and by Panamanians, we are able to extend job opportunities to the people within the province of Colon, and offer training to our employees to help them to acquire new skills. As the Canal continues to operate as a market-oriented business, we will see more of this trend," said Karamjit Singh, manager of the ACP Industrial Shipyard Division.

To be managed by the Dredging Division of the ACP, the new barge will assist with projects to increase Canal capacity, such as the Deepening of Gatun Lake and widening the Gaillard Cut.

At 51 meters long and 15 meters wide, the barge's construction is expected to take 12 months. The first stage of the construction project - planning and logistics - began in November of 2003. The primary materials, such as steel, will be provided by De Donge Shipbuilding, Holland.

Past projects constructed on-site by the ACP in Panama include the building of the Lenguado, a boat used to transport Canal line handlers to ships navigating the Canal. Through a unique agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation, the ACP will also assemble 16 locomotives in Panama. This trend of building additional capabilities at the Canal makes it a more efficient business operation, controlling costs and enhancing productivity.

For more information, please call Teresa Arosemena at (507) 272-1873 or Chris Hayes at (202) 326-1768.


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