News sources around the world are reporting the Chinese company, HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd., is fast-tracking plans with the Nicaraguan government to build another canal to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans across the Latin American isthmus.

SEE ALSO: Nicaragua Canal and Development Project FAQ

If this 11-year, $40 billion construction project is completed, implications could be tremendous for the global shipping trade, and for the newly constructed 2nd generation of the Panama Canal.  Not only that, but this also gives China a significant foothold in the western hemisphere that will last for 100 years, which is about the same period of time that the United States had a significant influence over the Panama Canal.

Rumors of this agreement have been circulating in recent weeks, but the Nicaraguan congress has been officially presented the proposal and is likely to vote on this as early as Monday.  Considering this project will literally double the country’s gross domestic product and create upwards of 40,000 new jobs, it’s quite likely the government will vote in favor.

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  • Debra J Rigas

    This raises many concerns for me. I have sailed 17,000 miles (when I stopped counting) and once held a USCG Captain’s license. If my water travels taught me anything, it’s that our world’s waters are seriously threatened, and the lands, wildlife and people which rely upon them (note: Amazon situation) are currently under threat. It also immediately occurs to me that forty billion dollars might likely serve better in feeding the impoverished people of Central America, among other things. Thanks for letting us know about this.

    • Tups

      So, instead of providing work for ~40,000 people, the Chinese company should just throw the money away? After all, they expect to make profit out of their investment.

    • David Shelton

      I believe that lake contains the only fresh water sharks in the world. I would hope that seawater does not end up contaminating the lake.

  • Matt

    @Alex, I don’t think an ‘environmental impact study’ is part of the equation for most countries. I might be wrong, but usually that is an American / EU thing. If the host country doesn’t have laws restricting development in favor of environmental concerns, it’s hubris for me to demand they change their laws as an outsider.

    I think this is not a bad idea overlooking the obvious risks to indigenous inland species. Since China has controlling influence over the Panama Canal, the second canal just frees commerce from the potential restrictions of the Panamanian government while putting China at risk of either Nicaragua or Panama nationalizing their canal. I can’t imagine both countries cutting them off from Chinese control at the same time.

    • Matt

      I think this is ((not)) a bad idea overlooking the obvious risks to indigenous inland species.

      the word NOT shouldn’t be there…

    • Tim Colton

      The Chinese government has no role in the operation of the Panama Canal, which is owned and operated by the Panama Canal Authority, an agency of the Government of Panama. The container terminals in Colon and Balboa are operated under license by Hutchison International, which is a Hong-Kong-based company controlled by mega-billionaire Li Ka-Shing. Hutchison is not controlled by the Government of China and in any case plays no role in the operation of the Canal.

      The Government of China is not involved in the Nicaraguan canal project either. The Chinese interest is headed by Wang Jing, who is a big-time maritime lawyer and also, reportedly, a billionaire.

      • Panobuz

        Thanks for setting him straight Tim, saved me the trouble.

  • Capt. Geest

    Geez, what a disaster in the making. If the Nicaraguan people/government think they are getting anything but the royal screwjob then they are sorely mistaken. They get bought out, sell their people into cheap labor, posion a huge amount of fresh water and its foodsource and in the end will have no say in how the thing is run for generations. Pretty much the same deal the Panamanians got.

    Chinese worksmanship being what it is, I would seriously question the construction practices and structural soundness of any canal they put together.

    • 真田真男人


  • Paul G.

    For a more detailed article on this see theguardian, 12, June 2013(London). The comments following the piece are also informative. It appears this is being fast tracked in spite of some huge question marks:

    Environmental impact, it goes through some sensitive and wild areas. Lake Nicaragua is presently a pristine lake, which could change.

    Feasibility and practicality, it is three times as long as Panama and the engineering could be extraordinary.

    Political, the route may involve a disputed and pristine river bordering Costa Rica. There are national sovereignty issues with the 100 yr. lease.

    Finally the economics of such a large carbon intensive project in the era of peak oil. Is it really needed?

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