Nicaragua passes interoceanic canal construction bill
The Nicaraguan congress has approved a bill for the construction of an interoceanic canal but it is unclear where there impoverished country will find the resources for the project, website Americaeconomia.com reported.
The bill proposed last month by president Daniel Ortega was voted in on Tuesday by 85 of the assembly's 92 deputies, proposing a legal framework for the project and the creation of a 'Grand Canal Authority' to undertake feasibility and environmental impact studies.
While the cost has not been officially estimated, some officials it could require an invesment of US$20 billion, the story reported. Other estimates have been around the US$30 billion mark, with expectations the canal would take 10 years to build.
Ortega's government has said the channel would have capacity of vessels up to 250,000 metric tons (MT), and would be coplementary to the existing Panama Canal.
"This is the first step in a long process," deputy Jaime Morales was quoted as saying.
"This is basically a very preliminary stage subject to the results of feasibility, environmental, technical and financial studies."
The government said it has had various countries interested in participating in the project, including Russia, Brazil, China, South Korea, Japan and Venezuela.
Panama Canal Authority vice president of market research and analysis Rodolfo Sabonge, told www.freshfruitportal.com he was sceptical about the proposal.
"Not even the Suez Canal, with the largest traffic of petroleum in the world has sufficient demand to justify an investment of this magnitude," he said.
"In our opinion, there is insufficient demand to justify an investment of this magnitude. The ACP market research unit continually analyzes demand, which generates traffic and revenue projections over the short, medium and long-term."