China to Dig the Nicaragua Canal With a Change in Layout

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 10, 2015

Map Credit:  NPR

Map Credit: NPR

 The $50 billion project of Hong Kong development company HKND to build an artificial waterway across Nicaragua to go ahead with some modification of the route of the canal to avoid affecting ecological zones and farming communities opposed to the project.

 
The vice president of the Chinese company, Kwok Wai Pang, reportedly said that the HKND is studying modifications in the design of the channel.
 
According to Kwok, adjustments seek to "avoid affecting the people of El Tule" located along the river of the same name where the road would, in the southern province of San Juan de Nicaragua, in response to "legitimate concerns" of their inhabitants. 
 
According to the local media reports, the company relocated the Pacific entrance to the canal on the Brito River and revised the route through the department of Rivas. In addition, the design adjusted to not affect the inhabitants of El Tule, a farming region along which the road between the lake ports of San Miguelito and San Carlos.
 
This route will be 278 kilometers long, will be three times longer than the Panama Canal. On the other hand, the depth will be between 26 and 30 meters, with a width that varies between 230 and 520 meters. It will be almost twice as deep and wide as that of Panama.
 
According to a WSJ report, it’s hard to make an economic case for a Nicaragua canal. Nicaragua originally estimated the cost of the 172-mile waterway at $40 billion and now it’s $50 billion. Panama Canal Authority CEO Jorge Quijano told me last summer that he estimates the project will cost more like $67 billion-$70 billion.
Canal proponents say Nicaragua will have a comparative advantage over Panama because its canal will have wider lanes to accommodate a new generation of container ships, WSJ says. Yet the economics of shipping suggest that demand for a Central American passage for the larger vessels is unlikely to materialize.
 
HKND promised to complete the canal by 2020, as complement to the Panama route  
 
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