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Construction on the Interoceanic Grand Canal of Nicaragua Begins

Image via Flickr by Mateo Hos

The Panama Canal has been the only route for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans without going around South America for over 100 years. However, Nicaragua just started construction on the Interoceanic Grand Canal of Nicaragua. It is a 278 mile canal through the infamous Magellan Strait that is going to cost upwards of $50 billion to create. That means the Panama Canal is finally going to have some competition.

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One major difference between the Panama Canal and the Interoceanic Grand Canal of Nicaragua is that the canal in Nicaragua will allow some of the world’s largest ships to pass through. Many of these ships are too big for the Panama Canal, even after the expansion project there is complete.

Construction on the Interoceanic Grand Canal of Nicaragua started on December 22, 2014. It will take five years to build. People have been talking about the possibility of the project for several years, but it has just become a reality thanks to an agreement between the Nicaraguan national assembly and the Chinese company Hong Kong Nicaragua Development. 50 years of concessions will be paid to Hong Kong Nicaragua Development. Of course, there is still speculation that the project will never be completed.

The CEO of Hong Kong Nicaragua Development is 41-year old Wang Jing. He claims to be an ordinary Chinese citizen, but he’s actually the board chairman of several enterprises around the world. The agreement claims that his company would come up with $40 billion to fund the project, but then they would have the rights to manage and operate the canal for 100 years. However, Nicaragua would still see profits from the canal.

There are still a lot of obstacles to the canal in Nicaragua, such as environmental impact studies and the sheer size of the project. If it’s successful, the Panama Canal may see a lot less traffic than current levels.[/show_to]

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