HKND Shelves Nicaragua Canal Construction

The beginning of the key construction stage of the USD 50-billion Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal project has been postponed until late 2016.

China’s Hong Kong Nicaragua Development (HKND) said on Wednesday that “the construction of locks and the big excavations will start toward the end of 2016”, the Associated Press reports citing a company statement.

As informed, HKND needs more time to fine-tune the design of the project.

The construction was expected to start this year and was expected to complete in five years with the Canal becoming operational by 2020.

According to HKDN Group, the Canal project will include 6 sub projects: the Canal (including locks), 2 ports, a free trade zone, holiday resorts, an international airport and several roads. In addition, there will be construction of a power station, cement factory, steel factory and other related facilities.

HKND Group received an environmental permit from the Government of Nicaragua for the canal project earlier this month having determined that it would have a positive environmental and social impact.

Environmental Resources Management (ERM) said in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report that the canal would have positive social impacts on the country: “It is anticipated that construction and operation of a Canal de Nicaragua would significantly benefit the Nicaraguan economy as a result of increased economic production, corporate diversity, and markets; more jobs, increased personal income and spending, improved skills and experience of workers as well as improved transport infrastructure.”

Nicaragua Grand Canal is a proposed 172-mile waterway, 230 to 520 metres wide and 27.6 metres deep, making it longer, wider and deeper than the 51-mile Panama Canal to the south.

When the preliminary construction works on access roads started in December 2014, hundreds of protesters and country’s environmentalists were against the project. Residents along the planned route, as well as a number of the country’s politicians and environmentalists, have opposed the project, stating as the main reasons the Canal’s impact on the country’s freshwater sources.

World Maritime News Staff