Machinery and workers are see on the site where a new set of locks are under construction on the Panama Canal expansion project in Cocoli near Panama City, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
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The Panama Canal Authority said on Friday it expects to sign a financing deal next week to finish work on expanding the waterway and end a dispute over cost overruns that has held up the multibillion-dollar project.Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano said he expected the agreement to be signed on Thursday.In the meantime, the deal gives the consortium immediate cash to resume work.As part of the deal, the Canal Authority agreed that the consortium could use a $400 million surety bond through insurer Zurich North America as backing to seek financing.However, the Zurich part will take up to six weeks to arrange, for which reason the $100 million cash injections were necessary to jump-start work at full capacity, Quijano said.Following the deal, Quijano said the newly expanded waterway would begin operating commercially by January 2016 .
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