Executive Intelligence Review


Panamanian Rail Project To Extend Silk Road to Central America and Beyond

Jan. 12, 2018 (EIRNS)—Details are emerging on the ambitious proposed high-speed train from Panama City to the Costa Rican border, and the enormous potential it represents for the extension of the New Silk Road and World Land-Bridge.

There is intensifying diplomatic activity, with delegations going to, and coming from, China—the next group of Chinese experts is scheduled to arrive in Panama in the next 12 days, according to President Juan Carlos Varela, Telemetro network reported Jan. 7. In late December, a Panamanian delegation returned from China, where it toured CSR Corp., which will build the railroad, and delegation members were stunned by the scope of the plan which was presented to them as part of the New Silk Road.

The idea is to build two sets of double-tracked rail lines—one for passengers, which will only go as far as the city of David, and the other for freight, which will go 50 km further to Paso Canoas on the Costa Rican border. From there, China’s idea is clearly to extend it all the way through Costa Rica and the rest of Central America to Mexico, and use it to vastly increase regional shipping of cargo to and from China (whose ships through the Panama Canal reportedly now return only 40% full). They expect that this sharp rise in regional trade will require expanding both the Colón and Panama City ports (at either end of the Canal), airports, and other major infrastructure.