Nicaragua kicks off inter-oceanic canal project

Monday, December 22, 2014

The construction of a US$40bn-50bn inter-oceanic canal in Nicaragua was scheduled to begin on Monday with a ceremony led by President Daniel Ortega and representatives from China's HKND Group.

The official ceremony kicking off works was to be held in capital Managua, while at the same time an event was scheduled for Rivas department on the southern Pacific coast, where works to build access roads will begin.

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In 2013 the country awarded HKND a 50-year concession to build and operate the inter-oceanic waterway designed to be 278km long, 230-520m wide and 30m deep – as well as two ports, an airport, a free-trade zone, steel and cement factories and a tourism complex.

Since then the project to compete with the Panama Canal has been shrouded in secrecy, with no environmental or feasibility studies or financial plans released, and local residents taking to the streets 16 times to protest against feared land expropriations and environmental harm that may arise as a result of the works.

Environmental organizations grouped under NGO Cocibolca that oppose the project said in a press conference that the proposed canal puts local indigenous communities at risk and threatens the security of the whole population.

BNamericas will host the 2nd LatAm & Caribbean Ports & Logistics Summit on January 28-29 in Panama. Cick here for more information.