PRESIDENT Juan Carlos Varela does not believe a Nicaraguan canal is an "economic viability," especially in light of the expectation that the expansion of the Panama Canal will be ready in 2016.
"Panama is very advanced in the expansion of its canal, so we don't see much economic viability in a $70 billion project," Varela said at a breakfast in Madrid that concluded his official visit to Spain.
Spain is a major player in the expansion project, but a recent Chinese delegation voiced the opinion that yet another set of locks will be needed in Panama as there is a new generation of giant vessels that will not be able to pass through the third set of locks.
Maersk the world’s biggest shipping line also favors the Nicaraguan venture,
In 2013, Managua granted a 50-year concession, extendable for another 50 years, to the Chinese company HK Nicaragua Development Co. (HKND) to develop and manage a 278-kilometer canal project. The work on this project will begin in December, presidential advisor Telémaco Talavera announced Tuesday.
"They are within their rights, but economically I do not see it a feasible project because it is a very large investment," said Varela
"We hope that, at the beginning of 2016, the expansion is finished," On Monday he invited King Felipe VI of Spain to attend the opening ceremonies. . He said financing issues, which have delayed the project, have been resolved and that more than $400 million is available to continue with the project. Manuel Manrique, leader of the Spanish company Sacyr, which is the lead contractor on the project, also expressed confidence the project would be finished by the end of 2015. "Our relationship (with Panama) is magnificent and we hope to improve our collaboration with all the works that exist in the country," he said.