In a bid to rival the recently completed Panama Canal Expansion project, Iran has expressed an interest to join forces with Chinese company Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND) to build the US$50 billion Nicargua Canal, according to The Times.
Mohammed Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said he had paid a visit to Nicaragua earlier this week, in which a discussion took place between business leaders on joining HKND to build the canal.
The Nicaragua Canal project was first proposed around two years ago, however, due to various issues, the project has stalled.
PTI previously reported that the Nicaragua Canal project was making progress after a deal was struck between HKND and UK-based engineering company BMT group’s Asia Pacific and BMT ARGOSS business units to allow BMT to carry out marine and port assessments.
Prior to this, the project was said to be delayed until late 2016 for reasons relating project adjustments.
Despite compliance with more than 40 social, environmental and economic requirements, the project is controversial as it could have an effect on the people of Nicaragua.
However, the Environmental Resources Management (ERM) said: “It is anticipated that construction and operation of a Canal de Nicaragua would significantly benefit the Nicaraguan economy as a result of increased economic production, corporate diversity, and markets; more jobs, increased personal income and spending, improved skills and experience of workers as well as improved transport infrastructure.”
The project was originally intended to begin construction at the end of 2015, however, financial setbacks have proven to be an issue, as well as commercial backing.