News / Economy

New Nicaragua Canal May Change Global Trade

New Nicaragua Canal May Change Global Tradei
X
August 28, 2013 10:40 PM
A Hong Kong-based company is working out the route for a canal across Nicaragua that would rival the Panama Canal, bolster world trade, and might create a strategic headache for the United States. Company officials say it may be some time next year before they finish preliminary engineering and environmental studies. The canal has been proposed many times before, but as VOA’s Jim Randle reports, some experts say this time it actually may get built.
A Hong Kong-based company is working out the route for a canal across Nicaragua that would rival the Panama Canal, bolster world trade, and might create a strategic headache for the United States. Company officials say it may be some time next year before they finish preliminary engineering and environmental studies. The canal has been proposed many times before, but some experts say this time it actually may get built.

Most international trade moves by ship, five percent of which moves through the century-old Panama Canal, a short cut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

HKND, a Hong Kong based company, recently won Nicaraguan approval to build a canal across that nation. The company says a second canal is needed to accommodate expanding international trade and the growing number of ships too big to use the Panama Canal.

George Mason University transportation expert Rodney McFadden said bigger ships are advantageous. "They carry more cargo for about the same amount of money per mile [kilometer]. They are much easier on the environment, and they increase trade."

A $5-billion expansion of the Panama Canal, currently under way, means ships there will be able to increase their loads from 5,000 containers to 13,000 containers.

McFadden said the Nicaraguan Canal may more than double that, to 30,000 containers, though HKND will not confirm this.

So the Nicaragua waterway could accommodate a new generation of ore, gas, and oil carriers that otherwise would have to take a longer route around the southern tip of South America.

Experts say greater capacity and competition could cut shipping costs and boost economic growth for many nations.

For relatively poor Nicaragua, the canal could bring improved roads and ports, and add jobs.

But there are environmental issues. The canal is likely to cross a lake that is a source of fresh water for Nicaragua. The builder promises to operate in a transparent manner.

Ronald Maclean-Abaroa, who works for HKND, said, "We have plans to obtain financing from international sources and that is why, from the outset, we want to be very clear about our commitment to conform to good international practices consistent with a world class project of this kind."

Critics of the project say China may have a strong influence on it because the company is headed by a Chinese national. Some worry China's influence in the region is growing.

Evan Ellis, who teaches at the National Defense University in Washington, said, "What we undervalue is things like this, in which, little by little, our political maneuvering space is being lost, and at least for me as a strategic analyst, I mean, that’s a concern."

HKND experts are studying engineering and environmental issues, in a bet that this canal will succeed where previous efforts have failed.

You May Like

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 29, 2013 12:36 AM
How many years will it take to complete?

In Response

by: James from: China
August 29, 2013 8:43 AM
It is great !

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8930
JPY
USD
117.98
GBP
USD
0.6673
CAD
USD
1.2445
INR
USD
61.498

Rates may not be current.