The Panama Canal Authority announced Friday that talks will continue until Feb. 4 with Grupo Unidos por el Canal in an effort to find a solution that will allow the Panama Canal expansion project to remain on track.
Zurich North America, which is holding the surety bonds guaranteeing the contractor's work, is also participating in the meetings.
The canal authority did not say what would happen if the situation was not resolved on Tuesday.
The construction of a third set of larger locks and channels to receive much larger cargo vessels hit a roadblock in late December when GUPC issued an ultimatum that it would suspend work on the project Jan. 21 if it was not reimbursed for $1.6 billion in disputed cost overruns.
The consortium has since backed off its deadline, but work has nonetheless slowed considerably as the company has released many laborers because of cash flow problems.
The Panama Canal Authority has said it refuses to negotiate over-payment issues raised outside the claims process outlined in the contract and has left open the possibility of canceling GUPC and switching to another engineering firm to manage the project to completion.
In a statement of its own, GUPC said: "The aim of the negotiations has been and still is to get to a comprehensive agreement for the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project, with the greatest efficiency of time and cost. The proposals under discussion have been fully aligned with applicable law and contracts. The negotiations are focused on a funding plan to co-finance the additional costs for the completion of the project. Ultimate responsibility for the additional costs will be decided through international arbitration procedures."
The Panama Canal Authority last month offered a $100 million advance and some other support to help GUPC with its operating challenges. GUPC has countered with other proposals seeking larger advances or reimbursement of a portion of the disputed amount.
GUPC's members are Sacyr Vallehermoso, S.A. (Spain), Impregilo, S.p.A. (Italy), Jan de Nul Group (Belgium, dredging specialist), and Constructora Urbana, S.A. (Panama).