Our Journey Towards progress – Pietro Salini

Seven years ago, we began an ambitious journey. We embraced the opportunity to combine visionary dreams and heart-stopping challenges in a way that all business leaders aspire to do at least once in a lifetime. The dream was to transform global trade. The challenge was to attempt a feat considered “impossible”.

Now, after years of hard work, intense emotion, setbacks and successes, we can gaze upon a structure that will forever shape the Isthmus of Panama. And in doing so, we can truly see the imprint of man upon nature.

This impressive construction makes its mark without harming the environment. It heralds a bold new creation while respecting the country’s rich natural heritage, revolutionising the landscape without destroying it.

Indeed, this is the very definition of what humanity calls Progress - sustainable development that furthers the human condition, achieves a balance between man and nature, and provides a legacy for future generations.

Great infrastructure projects transform our way of life, making all of this possible.

Far from simply being two tracks and a train, the railroad of the 1800s embodied a desire to strike out and explore the unknown. In the same way, the new Panama Canal is far more than a physical structure. It is an everlasting gift to world trade. It plants the seeds of a new industrial revolution, one in which water, not steel, will dominate, accompanied by ships, ports and cargo.

This is the new Panama Canal, one of the greatest engineering feats ever undertaken on our planet, both in terms of its technical complexity and its future impact on intercontinental trade. It also stands to contribute significantly to the economy of Panama, a nation that brigdes North and South America.

For all of us at Salini Impregilo, playing a key role in this monumental project was not just a point of pride but an opportunity to challenge ourselves. Through this initiative, we would conquer ever more complex ground, rise to increasingly ambitious challenges, and offer the world a new, inter-oceanic Canal with a far lower environmental footprint that its predecessor.

Meeting this challenge – one that only the U.S. army had overcome 100 years ago, and 110 years on from our inception – renews our courage to pursue giant, complex projects that help define a path to prosperity and a new model of sustainable development.

We succeeded thanks to the dedication and determination of everyone who played a part in this unique endeavor, which, at this peak, saw more than 11,000 people working together to realise a shared dream.

This book pays homage to all those men and women who reprised the efforts of the original workers, more than 100 years after the first Canal was inaugurated: engineers and carpenters, drivers and labourers, divers and technical specialists – a diverse combination of personalities and professions in pursuit of a collective goal.

As we admire ships crossing the new Panama Canal, following with emotion as new interoceanic routes and infrastructure projects take shape around the world to host huge Post-Panamax ships. One thought in particular makes us proud. We were part of this “piece” of Progress.
And we want to share it with you, giving you a insight into the emotions and events that formed an inextricable part of our journey.


Pietro Salini
Chief Executive Officer of Webuild (Previously Salini Impregilo)