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Consortium says Panama Canal work resumed after two-week shutdown

  • 28e93132334366074c0f6a706700cbac.jpg

    Machinery sits idle at the construction site of the Panama Canal expansion project in Gatun, Panama, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. The canal expansion project remained idle after the administrator of the Panama Canal said Wednesday that work would resume Thursday after it was halted over a disagreement with a contractor on cost overruns. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) (The Associated Press)

  • efd0335c334366074c0f6a7067000957.jpg

    A man walks alone inside the Panama Canal expansion project in Gatun, Panama, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. The canal expansion project remained idle after the administrator of the Panama Canal said Wednesday that work would resume Thursday after it was halted over a disagreement with a contractor on cost overruns. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) (The Associated Press)

  • 3de6759b334166074c0f6a706700ee4b.jpg

    The Panama Canal expansion project sits idle as a cruise ship navigates to the Gatun Locks in Gatun, Panama, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. The canal expansion project remained idle after the administrator of the Panama Canal said Wednesday that work would resume Thursday after it was halted over a disagreement with a contractor on cost overruns. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) (The Associated Press)

A European-led consortium says work has resumed on a major expansion of the canal, following a two-week shutdown caused by a dispute over who is to pay for $1.6 billion in cost overruns.

The consortium led by Spain's Sacyr says it is following startup procedures that will allow full-scale work to resume "as soon as possible."

But there was little visible activity along the canal on Wednesday, and President Ricardo Martinelli told local media "there appears to be some internal differences between the various contractors," which include companies from various countries.

The administrator of the Panama Canal said work will resume Thursday on the $5.25 billion expansion project that will allow extra-large tankers and container ships to use the canal and cut travel time between Asia and the eastern U.S.