$40 Billion Transoceanic Canal Project Resurfaces in Nicaragua

An initiative for the construction of a new canal between the Pacific and the Caribbean is underway after a century of hibernation.

Nicaragua—An initiative for the construction of a new canal between the Pacific and the Caribbean is underway after a century of hibernation. The project was halted in the early 20th century after the race to get such a canal development to Central America was won by Panama. With shipping now on the rise globally, the opportunity seems to have presented itself for a new transoceanic canal.

However, given the country’s long-existing ambition for what is now called The Inter Oceanic Nicaragua Canal project, the idea was never really off the table. The project now looks to take one step further as the Nicaraguan National Assembly is considering a 100-year land concession to newly formed consortium HK Nicaragua Development Investment Co.

The new canal project, currently dividing public opinion in the Central American country, would constitute a $40 billion investment. Set to last around 11 years, the development process would dig through 130 miles to create a new waterway safe for large vessels to pass through. Should it be realized, the canal would be much longer than its Panamanian alternative, which is 48 miles long. The new route would shorten the distance by ship from New York to San Francisco by approximately 800 km. The new construction would use the country’s rivers and Lake Nicaragua to get to the Pacific Ocean through the 10-kilometer Rivas isthmus.

The Chinese-based developer now has the support of President Daniel Ortega through his Sandinista National Liberation Front party. The socialist political organization currently controls the country’s legislature, a fact that would facilitate the materialization of the project, subject to ongoing feasibility studies and area research carried out by potential developer, HKND. The recent unanimous approval given by the National Assembly’s Infrastructure Committee to the initiative makes Nicaragua’s intentions regarding the project pretty clear.