Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications.
The president of the country’s national assembly, Rene Nuñez, announced the $40bn (£26bn) project, which will reinforce Beijing’s growing influence on global trade and weaken US dominance over the key shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
The name of the company and other details have yet to be released, but the opposition congressman Luis Callejas said the government planned to grant a 100-year lease to the Chinese operator.
The national assembly will debate two bills on the project, including an outline for an environmental impact assessment, on Friday.
Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, said recently that the new channel would be built through the waters of Lake Nicaragua.
The new route will be a higher-capacity alternative to the 99-year-old Panama Canal, which is currently being widened at the cost of $5.2bn.
Full article: Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal (The Guardian)