Nicaragua’s National Assembly has approved a bid from a Hong Kong magnate for the construction of a canal to rival Panama’s long-established waterway, costing around USD40bn.
Map courtesy of Biblioteca Verde
Nicaragua, one of the region’s least developed nations, had received expressions of interest from investors in several nations, including Japan, South Korea, Russia, Venezuela and Brazil.
Under the agreement, Hong Kong-based Nicaragua Canal Development Co Ltd will be granted a 50-year concession to build the canal, and a further 50 years to manage it. The project, which would involve the creation of a canal approximately 10 kilometers in length, is now anticipated to cost USD40bn, up from early estimates of USD30bn — almost four times the nation’s gross domestic product.
The Nicaraguan government had previously anticipated that the project could be completed by as early as 2019, and could handle 573 million metric tons by 2025 – substantially more than the record of 322.1 million tons of cargo handled by the Panama Canal in 2011.
Even though a significant expansion of the Panama Canal is presently underway, Nicaragua’s canal would be able to cater for ships too large to pass through the Panama Canal, of up to 400 meters in length and 60 meters in width.