Chinese firm wins $40 billion contract to build Nicaragua’s alternative Panama Canal

The proposed Nicaragua Canal will be nearly three times the length of the Panama Canal (pictured). Image: Flickr

A US$40 billion canal project in Nicaragua to rival the Panama Canal has moved one step closer to being realised after the president of the Nicaraguan National Assembly announced that a Chinese company will be responsible for its construction.

 

The 130-mile waterway, linking the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, is anticipated to take up to 11 years to complete and would generate as many as 40,000 construction jobs, according to the Guardian, having the potential to double the per-capita gross domestic product of Nicaragua, regarded as one of the poorest nations in Latin America.

 

Rene Nuñez, the president of the Nicaraguan National Assembly, who announced the news to the country’s national media on Thursday, said that the government plans to grant a concession for the ambitious project to an as yet unnamed Chinese firm for a period of 100 years. The Chinese company will use funds from global investors to execute the project, added Nuñez.

 

The country’s legislature were due to debate legislation related to the project on Friday, according to legislative leader Nuñez, where two bills aimed at fast tracking the Canal’s construction and assessing its environmental impact were due to be presented to Nicaragua lawmakers.

 

According to the International Business Times, Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega said recently that the proposed canal will run through Lake Nicaragua. Previous plans stated that the canal would be located much further south alongside the San Juan River.

Ortega also said that the Nicaraguan Canal will be deeper, 60 metres in places, than the Panama Canal , nearly three times as long and will be capable of carrying vessels twice as large.

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