Panama Canal sets one week deadline to clinch deal

PANAMA CITY Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:48pm EST

Idle cranes are seen during a tour organized by the Panama Canal authorities of the Panama Canal Expansion project construction site on the Pacific side in Panama City February 5, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Idle cranes are seen during a tour organized by the Panama Canal authorities of the Panama Canal Expansion project construction site on the Pacific side in Panama City February 5, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - The Panama Canal has set a target of no more than a week to reach a deal to jumpstart work on a multi-billion dollar expansion of the waterway amid a cost row, its administrator said on Wednesday.

Panama Canal Authority head Jorge Quijano, who said earlier on Wednesday the sides were close to a deal, warned that failure to reach an agreement would leave no alternative but to complete the project without a consortium led by Spain's Sacyr (SCYR.MC).

"I think we have no more than a week, and that is the target we have set," Quijano said. "If we go beyond that, then we will have no alternative."

(Reporting by Lomi Kriel; Editing by Simon Gardner)