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.”