Construction delayed on Nicaragua waterway set to dwarf Panama canal

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 2:18am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 2:18am


Nicaragua's government says the construction of an inter-ocean canal will start a year later than planned because the waterway's path has yet to be defined.

The president of the canal authority, Manuel Coronel Kautz, says the project will not begin until next year because the canal's route approval comes in the third quarter of this year. President Daniel Ortega had said Nicaragua planned to begin construction in May.

Kautz told La Prensa newspaper on Saturday authorities wanted to wait for feasibility studies to be well advanced.

Nicaraguan legislators in June approved granting Beijing-based telecommunications CEO Wang Jing a concession to build and operate a canal more than three times the length of Panama's.

The China Railway Construction Corporation is carrying out a feasibility study on the canal project, which, if built, would rival the Panama canal and be the world's largest civil engineering project.

Nicaragua's announcement comes after a European-led consortium expanding the Panama Canal threatened to halt work unless the Panama Canal Authority met more than US$1.6 billion in cost overruns.

It is estimated that the canal, which is expected to be significantly longer than the 77-kilometre Panama Canal, will cost US$40 billion to build.