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Hot Debate over Nicaraguan Interoceanic Canal

June 12, 2016 (EIRNS)—As indicated by a lengthy article published today in Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP), there is a fierce battle taking place over the construction and feasibility of the Great Nicaraguan Interoceanic Canal, one of the huge infrastructure projects whose completion will transform the entire Central American region—and beyond.

The project’s developer, HKND Investment Group, a private Chinese firm, continues to defend the canal project. HKND Executive Vice-President Pang Kwok Wai told the SCMP in a written interview that he rejects the worst-case scenarios offered by naysayers, calling them "speculative opinions." In fact, he said, in August or September, construction of the temporary western port, and of the Brito port will begin, and construction of the fuel facility and of the first ship berth is planned for the first half of 2017. Canal excavation will begin after these works are completed.

"We are confident that the canal can be operational within five years after commencement of major works," Pang said, pointing to the study by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, which determined that the project is financially and economically sound, and will be highly profitable. Pang said that other Hong Kong companies had expressed great interest in the canal, adding that companies from "all over the world" are very interested "in designing, building or financing the Nicaraguan Canal." Investor interest has been "remarkably strong."

The naysayers include British company, Environmental Resources Management, which warned that the five-year schedule was unrealistic and the project itself "fraught with risks and uncertainties." Margaret Myers, head of the China and Latin America program at the Washington, D.C.-based Inter-American Dialogue think tank, told the SCMP "there is still no clear indication [that] there is sufficient financial backing to move ahead with canal construction," adding that "whether there is sufficient demand for a second canal in Central America is also debatable."

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