The idea of building an interoceanic canal has returned to be floated in Nicaragua, where President Daniel Ortega announced that he will begin studies on this huge and costly project.
"We have given the task of coordinating the team to Deputy Foreign Minister Manuel Coronel and (former rebel) Eden (Pastora) , who are familiar with the river, its course, its tributaries and depth," Ortega said in Managua, according to a cable from AFP reproduced on Mipunto.com.
Since the 90’s, several initiatives have been suggested in Nicaragua, some in favor of a "dry canal" (the union of two ports on both oceans to which the country has access, via a railway) or for a "wet canal "linking the Atlantic with the Pacific using the natural route of the river San Juan -which empties into the Caribbean- and Lake Nicaragua.
However, to date, no project has flourished; feasibility studies have not been carried out and various estimates put the cost of such works, between a few billion dollars and $20 billion. Despite interest, no group of investors has chosen to realize the dream.
Ortega said the project would not compete with the Panama Canal, but would be complementary to it.
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Does this project have real and practical bases, which means we should pay attention to it?
CentralAmericaData.COM's vision is to select and validate business news that matter to the region. The modern Central American entrepreneur simply does not have time to do so, and this is the service we provide, therefore, given the publicity the press in general has given to the intereoceanic canal project promoted by President Ortega, we have an obligation to analyze and comment from a business standpoint.
This 150 year old concept is now being revisited by President Ortega, but its viability depends not only on engineering and financial factors, but also on the market.
The presidential announcement on the creation of a commission to study the feasibility of a canal which would be a continuation of the San Juan River, has again raised the discussion of an idea that was initially dreamt up by the first European sailors who came to America.
Feasibility studies for the mega project to build a port on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua will be ready in 2 years.
The studies, to be carried out by the Brazilian construction firm Andrade Gutierrez, will determine the size of the project. The estimated initial investment for construction of the port and the highway linking Monkey Point to the port in Corinto is between $250 and $300 million.
The Government of Nicaragua has announced the constitution of a company in Hong Kong in order to raise the necessary capital to build the wet and dry canals projects it has planned.
From an article in Elpueblopresidente.com:
The President, Daniel Ortega, said the Government had signed a memorandum of understanding with a company incorporated in Hong Kong, China, for the construction of the Grand Interoceanic Canal in Nicaragua.