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Iran keen to participate in Nicaragua Canal project

The long dormant plan to build a canal through Nicaragua to rival the newly expanded Panama Canal could be revived. First mooted by a Beijing telecoms tycoon, Wang Jing, more than four years ago, the project has since gone quiet, on the back of environmental concerns and Wang’s financial concerns.

Now, however, the Iranian foreign minister Javid Zarif has said Iranian construction companies are keen to participate in the $50bn project. Zarif is in Nicaragua on a whistle-stop tour through Latin America.

Iran has close ties with Nicaragua and its president Daniel Ortega.

HKND, the company created by Wang, to push ahead with the canal development has repeatedly delayed the start of construction – the most recent pronouncement being that it’d kick off this month. An official groundbreaking ceremony took place in December 2014, but since then the project has stalled.

If it comes to fruition the Nicaragua Canal would stretch 172 miles, be between 230m and 520m wide and 27.6m deep, all greater numbers than the relevant comparisons with the Panama Canal, situated to its south.

The administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, Jorge Quijano, said he was doubtful whether a canal in Nicaragua would ever be built when interviewed by Splash in June.

“We feel there is not enough business for two canals,” Quijano said, “and so it would not be a good investment.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Good Morning:
    You should be looking at Port of Salina Cruz, Mexico, on Pacific Side to Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, on The Gulf of Mexico Side. #1, Its shorter distance, #2 You smack deb at International Gateway to USA in Gulf Of Mexico, Cant get any better then that. “But” Good luck to You and Iran. The Nicaragua Canal, It would be Far better then Those running the Panama Canal. I, done talking to them. They are going backward not forward, In that New Canal they built, which has already shown a lot of problems, As not being wide enough. #1, Should of been Four, (4) Locks Wide, Two, (2) in Both Direction to handle heavy flow at both ends. #2, Each Locks should of been 2000 feet long, which can handle more ships per locks per day, by 300 feet wide, and 100 feet deep. But they are finding out. My Competitors tell me weekly about the complaint, and nightmares their. COSCO, Had Problems with One of Their Brand New Post Panamax Container Ships, Not even 30 days old, In The New Lock, What the old saying: Don’t fix it, if it ain’t broke. Panama Canal, Should of left things as they were, slow & easy!

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