Beijing: For the past two months, the spotlight in the world’s shipping industry has turned to the Nicaragua Canal project which will be one of the 21st century’s top infrastructure projects upon completion. In June, Nicaragua’s National Assembly approved a bill to grant a 50-year concession to a newly formed Hong Kong-registered company, the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co (HKND) to build the canal across the Latin American country. The concession would be renewable for another 50 years.
Wang Jing, chairman of HKND Group, is a 41-year-old private business man, also the chairman and largest shareholder of Xinwei Telecom, a Chinese telecom company which won a deal in 2012 to operate cellphone and internet services in Nicaragua.
Wang believes that between now and 2030, the volume of addressable trade will have grown by 240% and ships are also growing in size.
“Given continued trends in both trade volumes and ship sizes it appears that the Panama Canal by itself will be insufficient to meet the requirements of 21st century global trade,” Wang tells Maritime CEO.
“As a result, it has become imperative to develop and construct a wider and deeper interoceanic canal to support bigger load weight and generate greater efficiency,” he adds.
The route of the canal will start at the port of Brito in the Pacific, cross Lake Nicaragua and finish at Bluefields at the Caribbean, one of the three possible routes identified in early planning. The canal would be around 240km long, three and a half times the Panama Canal which is under a $5bn expansion.
Early estimates put the cost of the canal construction at $40bn.
“We are already making good progress on the financing but at this point, it is premature to go into further details,” Wang says.
For the full interview check out the upcoming issue of SinoShip magazine. Issue Three of the dual language SinoShip will be at top events around the world including Asia’s premier container shipping conference, TPM Asia, where the 1,000 high level delegates will be able to read the issue including our special on ports for which we have deployed four journalists to look at the highs and lows of the sector. [22/08/13]