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.
    Jim Randle
    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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9030
    JPY
    USD
    102.41
    GBP
    USD
    0.7470
    CAD
    USD
    1.3038
    INR
    USD
    67.919

    Rates may not be current.