Reports indicate that the Nicaragua Grand Canal, or the Interoceanic Canal of Nicaragua, is set to begin construction this December. The 287 km canal would be three times the length of the Panama Canal and the cost of the project is estimated at US$40 billion. Completion of the canal, which will reportedly offer 50 000 direct jobs and 200 000 indirect jobs, is planned for 2019.
According to Seatrade Global, the project was approved by parliament in June with little debate and a 100-year concession ‘controlling a vast area of Nicaragua’ was given to Chinese magnate Wang Jing, who, with his Hong Jong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., is building and managing the waterway.
The canal’s channel draught is to be 22 m, the locks will be 466 m long and it will be 64 m wide. The project is set to include two ports, an airport, an artificial lake, two locks, a resort, an area of free trade, roads and cement plants.
On the Pacific side, the canal’s route would begin at the mouth of the Brito River. Once complete, the canal would be able to accommodate ships up to 400 000 t.
The government of Costa Rica has expressed concern over the project’s environmental impact and has demanded environmental impact studies before any work begins. Within Nicaragua itself, questions have also been raised over the environmental issues and the lack of experience of the Chinese developer with large infrastructure projects.
With three months to go until the reported start date, international tenders are yet to be called and little information is available about land expropriations required along the route.
Edited from various sources by Katherine Guenioui
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/the-americas/10092014/nicaragua-grand-canal-to-start-construction-in-december-456/