Nicaragua Launches New Canal Project

Nicaraguan officials and the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND) broke ground yesterday on a $50 billion transoceanic waterway predicted to rival the Panama Canal.

At the opening ceremony, Nicaragua’s Vice-President Omar Halleslevens stated that the new canal would change the history and the economy of Nicaragua, one of Latin America’s poorest countries.

With this great canal, Nicaragua expects to move 5% of the world’s commerce that moves by sea, which will bring great economic benefits and double the GDP (gross domestic product),” said Mr Halleslevens.

The groundbreaking marked the start of some ancillary projects in Brito, a city about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Nicaragua’s Pacific coast where the first port will be built.

The canal route crosses Lake Nicaragua, the largest freshwater reserve in Central America, and runs through rainforest and at least 40 villages before terminating at the mouth of the Punta Gorda River in the southern Caribbean, where another port will be built.

The project also includes an international airport and a free-trade zone with residential and tourism facilities.

Officials say the canal will be fully operational by 2019. The 278km waterway will be longer, deeper and wider than the Panama Canal.

This capital development project has been a source of anger and protests from citizens in recent weeks.

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Dredging Today Staff