Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nicaragua/China: Managua, Beijing Gear Up to Construct 173-Mile Link Connecting Caribbean, Pacific

According to The Latin American Tribune, the Grand Interoceanic Canal Commission of Nicaragua and China’s HKND Group presented the proposed 278-kilometer (173-mile) route of the canal linking the Pacific with the Caribbean.

The canal will stretch from the coast of the southwestern town of Brito on the Pacific across Lake Nicaragua to the mouth of the Punta Gorda River on the Caribbean, an executive of the HKND Group said during a live broadcast.

HKND made no mention of the cost of the massive project, which the Nicaraguan government has estimated at $40 billion.

The canal will be between 230 meters and 520 meters (754 feet and 1,704 feet) wide and 30 meters (98 feet) deep, according to the official plan.

Some 5,100 of the largest ships in the world will be able to pass through the canal every year, at an average time of 30 hours that will include their passage through two locks, according to the HKND Group.

COMMENT: This huge project has been in the planning stages for years, but presumably is beginning to show promise.

The initiative will also entail the construction of two ports, which, like the canal, will be built to withstand powerful earthquakes, according to the presentation.

Another aspect of the project will be the creation of a free-trade zone with a commercial area, another for processing exports, one for financial offices, plus an urban area for 140,000 inhabitants.

The free-trade zone will create more than 130,000 jobs and generate $27 billion a year by 2030, according to HKND Group estimates.

The concessionaire also envisions a luxury resort and new international airport.

The entire project will require some 50,000 construction workers, HKND Group said.