Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Chinese tycoon Wang Jing went on record last week announcing their plans to start building a $40-billion canal across the Central American country were on track for late 2014. The announcement was clearly timed to try and capitalize on the turmoil surrounding the Panama Canal expansion project, which has been seen huge cost overruns that have threatened to stop work on the project, but it also comes only a few weeks after Nicaragua’s Canal Authority chief Manuel Coronel Kautz was quoted as saying work would not start on the Nicaraguan waterway until 2015.
“The Nicaraguan government and HKND Group are pleased to confirm that canal construction work will begin as planned in December 2014,” the two said in a brief statement.Their remarks appeared aimed at shooting down any idea of a delay.
It is the biggest infrastructure project by far attempted under the government of Ortega. And it would have huge strategic value, potentially interrupting commerce in Panama’s waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific .
Feasibility studies are under way in Nicaragua, but it is not yet known where and how the future canal might be built in mechanical and logistical terms, if it gets a final green light at all. Environmental groups are already protesting the project too, claiming it would bring "permanent risk to the region." To read more, click HERE.