A Belgium contractor has snagged the second of two massive dredging contracts to deepen and widen the entrances of the Panama Canal, an integral element of the waterway’s $5.2-billion expansion project. The Jan De Nul Group, Hofstade/Aalst, submitted the winning bid of $89.6 million to dredge the canal’s Atlantic entrance to 15.5 meters below mean water level to allow large ships access to the canal, and $16.4 million for a contract option to dredge an additional 2.3 million cu meters. The company is part of the Grupo Unidos por el Canal consortium that earlier this year won the $3.48-billion contract
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.