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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8050
JPY
USD
117.90
GBP
USD
0.6376
CAD
USD
1.1259
INR
USD
61.655

Rates may not be current.