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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.