January 17, 2002. – As part of the studies to determine the viability of the expansion of the interoceanic waterway, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) awarded the contract for the conceptual design of the Post-Panamax locks to the Belgium- French consortium Tractebel Development Engineering, Coyne-et-Bellier, Technum N.V., and Compagnie Nationale du Rhone. The bidding was open to the international community and eleven proposals were received.

The contract, in the amount of $1,597,000.00, was awarded after taking into consideration the financial and technical aspects of the proposals received from American, British, German, Belgium- French, Brazilian, and Russian companies.

Since the conceptual design of the Post-Panamax locks is a key element of the study plan for the expansion of the Panama Canal, the ACP decided to proceed with the conceptual design, by means of two independent contracts, to develop four different locks configurations to identify the best option for the transit of Post-Panamax vessels through the Canal.

The winning consortium will develop the conceptual design for one and three-level locks on the Pacific. The ACP is simultaneously negotiating a second contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop two and three-level locks on the Atlantic. Both conceptual design efforts will include the use of water conservation systems, and both shall be submitted within a twelve-month period.