Serious look at the canal project

We have seen a lot of speculation but little in the way of details on the Nicaragua canal project. That seems to have finally changed with a very long article in the Daily Mail.

It is not pro-canal per se and there are still unanswered questions but it tells us a lot about the project that seems to have been ignored by other media. In particular, it goes into the parts of the project that are not specifically the canal but related projects. It includes photos and a video.

After three days of discussion in June, the National Assembly controlled by Ortega's Sandinista party approved giving Beijing-based telecommunications CEO Wang Jing a 50-year renewable concession to build a canal more than three times the length of the Panama Canal, as well as tax-free side projects including ports on Nicaragua's Pacific and Atlantic coasts, an oil pipeline bisecting the country, a cargo railway, two free-trade zones and an international airport.

The article goes on to discuss the economics of the side-projects going as far as to say that they could be done without the canal itself and Wang Jing would get a lot of lucrative concessions. The pipeline and cargo railway might themselves be the biggest win. They become competition for Guatemala's plans for something similar. (Guatemala has just re-acquired the rights to its railroad right of way (see this RRDC article for details.)

While there is little left of the Guatemala infrastructure, already having the right of way is a big advantage. As Guatemala's re-acquisition was just completed this month, this could be a serious competitor for Wang Jung's project.

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Manifest Destiny

This seems to confirm my pet theory that the manifest destiny of Sandinismo is to sell Nicaragua to the highest bidder. But then, if the Virgen Mary approves, who are we mere mortals to complain?

Stealiing the land at assesed value is one indicator of the tyranny to come. Many countries, including the US, assess land at a rate less than fair market value, but when they take it they have to pay fair market value.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

I'm leaning towards the theory of the last minute cancellation

based on the feasibility survey and Wang exercising his rights (with The President for Life) in relation to the side projects that are not, by law dependent on the canal, ergo he does not have to bid on the, they are already his, (theirs)....they are "The Mother of all Piñatas"

This would be better posted here than the "Pro Rail thread"

Lets look at just one problem with the Canal...Lake Cocibolca.

The Post-Panamax container ships need a guaranteed draft of almost 28 meters move through it. This would mean having to dig a channel along the bottom of the lake that depth and 500 meters wide by 50 to 56 miles long, depending on the route chosen.

Knowing the amount of sediment at the bottom of the lake, multiplied by the dimensions above, this would involve digging out and removing about 832 million cubic meters of sediment from the lake bottom.

Other than "Where will they put the sediment?"

The lake bed is believed to be made up of very fine sand and silt, which means that as it disperses, the water quality does too. (It could also have some nice blue rock running through it)

To get an idea of the magnitude of sediment that would be removed from the lake, divide that 832 million cubic meters by 15 cubic meters, the average load the trucks we have in the country usually carry.

That shows that the equivalent of 55.5 million trips would be needed to transport it.

the US effort in Panama

Started by hiriing railroad engineers from the American west. The Panama canal was first and formost a railroad project because the railways moved the dirt. Trucks could never move the quantity of dirt needed for a canal.

I wonder how much draft a Chinese aircraft carrier needs?

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher


Lets be frank. Are you really disposed to invest in a megaproject backed by a guy who is proud to call himself a wang ...

De Lesseps

(spelling doubtful) knew nothing about building canals but got lucky in Suez and managed to get funding for many years in panama . The King is dead, long live the King.

As far as wangs, I remember a class in which we had 2 Wangs, commonly know as Big Wang and Little Wang to differenciate them.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

salt water

someone had mentioned to me the other day about the fact that it was finally being discussed about the salt water that would end up destroying the lake over time with this canal, now add 300-600 tons a day of fukushima radiation water entering the pacific since the damaging event took place almost 3 years ago and still going and salt water will be the least of the concerns here. With such a huge fresh water supply will any true impact reports be done? and if so by whom? and who will listen?

Why would salt water enter the lake?

The lake is the highest part of the canal. I would assume lake water would be used to fill the locks and then be drained into the oceans. The density of salt water is higher than that of fresh water so it would seem that most of the salt water would remain in the lock rather than flow into the lake.

How significant is the potential problem here?

Study on the intrusion and dispersion

of salt water in the Panama Canal:

Harbor Pollution (Executive Summary gives a good indication)


Perhaps the concern is ballast water or non-indigenous species that get introduced into the lake from ballast water.

article was a good read..

pulled it up on my yahoo news

Yes, A Perspective

we don't always see.