The Panama Canal Authority is soliciting bids for the estimated $70-million removal of 16 million cu m of material at the waterway’s Atlantic entrance. The job is a key portion of the canal’s $5.2-billion third-lane expansion project that will allow larger "post-Panamax" ships to use it. Last April, Belgium-based Dredging International won the $177.5-million contract to widen and deepen a nine-mile-long navigation channel beyond the Pacific entrance of the waterway. The deadline for bid submissions is July 15, with the project’s completion expected by the second quarter of 2013.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.