The Dutch Consortium of Royal Haskoning DHV and Ecorys is to carry out a pre-feasibility study into the construction of a canal through Nicaragua – all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.
The canal will cater for larger ships than the Panama Canal and will be Central America’s second main waterway. The contract for the study, scheduled to be completed early next year, is worth $720,000.
The consortium will examine the technical, fi nancial and economic feasibility of building the canal, with special attention to water management and environmental impact. The study embraces such matters as the required dredging, the conceptual design of the canal and locks and opportunities for ecological offsetting.
The Nicaraguan Government estimates that the project will cost $20bn and the consortium has been asked to verify this figure.
The Dutch consortium say that on completion of its current expansion, the Panama Canal will be able to handle ships with a carrying capacity of between 120,000 and 130,000dwt.
However, a growing proportion of the world’s fl eet is made up of even larger ships, including the biggest container ships in the industry, large bulk carriers and oil tankers.
Nicaragua plans to build a canal to serve ships where carrying capacities range from 200,000 to 250,000dwt.