The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released its Request for Proposal (RFP) Friday on the “design-build” contract for the new locks under the Canal’s Expansion Program. Four global consortia will now move forward with their bids on what will be the largest and most important project under the $5.25 billion expansion.

The Expansion Program will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling capacity and allowing more traffic and longer, wider ships.

The ACP will meet with consortia representatives in February 2008 regarding the content of the RFP for the construction of the new set of locks. Proposals are due August 2008. The ACP will evaluate bids based on the best value concept, with emphasis on technical components (60 percent) and price (40 percent). Following a thorough review, the ACP expects to award the contract in December 2008.

“Releasing the RFP for the new locks is a major step forward in the creation of the new lane, as it is the most significant contract in the Expansion Program. We have some of the world’s most reputable and skilled contractors competing for the opportunity to take part in this prominent project. We’re highly confident in their ability and we’re looking forward to receiving their proposals in the third quarter of next year,” said ACP Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management Jorge L. Quijano.

The winner of this contract will design and build two locks complexes, which include water-saving basins. The consortia in the running for the contract include: Consorcio C.A.N.A.L.; Consorcio Atlántico-Pacífico de Panamá; Consortia Bechtel, Taisei, Mitsubishi Corporation; and Consorcio Grupo Unidos por el Canal. (Editor’s note: Details of the companies that compose each consortium are listed at the end of this document.)

The qualifying process for interested consortia began August 27, 2007, when the ACP released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the construction of the new set of locks. On November 15, 2007, four consortia, composed of 30 companies from 13 countries, submitted Statements of Qualifications. Based on a pass-fail evaluation of criteria and capabilities, the ACP certified on December 14, 2007, that each of those consortia qualified to receive and respond to the RFP.

The new Pacific locks will be located to the southwest side of the Miraflores Locks. The new Atlantic locks will be located to the east of Gatun Locks. Each set of locks will have three levels, also called chambers, and will rely on gravity to operate. Each lock chamber will be accompanied by three water-saving basins, allowing the reutilization of 60 percent of the water in each transit. For an animated simulation of the new locks, please visit