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Nicaragua Canal project

Hurdles in way of new shipping route

Nicaragua-canal-map

Plans for a brand-new canal across Nicaragua, creating a rival route to the Panama Canal, have caused a stir among the global shipping community. President Daniel Ortega has granted a concession to a Chinese company to build the canal, which would give a huge boost to the economy of Nicaragua. But what of the environmental impact? What of the rivalry with Panama? And, above all, where is the money going to come from?

The government of President Daniel Ortega has high hopes for its plan to build a new ship canal linking the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.

The route has been chosen and the Nicaraguan government has lined up a Chinese contractor to carry out the mega-project. But questions remain about how the work is to be funded as well as its likely impact on the lakes and rivers of Nicaragua – and how it could affect Panama.

The Nicaragua Canal – also known as the Nicaragua Grand Canal or the Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal – is said to be the largest infrastructure project of its kind in the world. The cost of building the new canal has been estimated at US$ 40 to 50 billion.

The proposed canal would be 278 km in length – three and a half times as long as the Panama Canal – and would run from Punta Gorda on the Caribbean coast to the mouth of the River Brito on the Pacific. The route of the canal would take it through Lake Nicaragua, accounting for 105 km of the total journey.

Read more: Nicaragua Canal project