Alternatives to the Panama Canal

[TCRN] – Nicaragua and Costa Rica continue accusations and finger pointing over the Canal and San Juan River dispute.

The Nicaragua Inter-oceanic Canal initiative, approved last week by 85 of 91 MPs, created a legal system for the proposed 200-kilometre canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Feasibility studies of the proposed Nicaragua Canal are expected to cost $350 million, while actual construction could hit $30 billion.

Meanwhile groups in Nicaragua has accused Costa Rica’s San Juan River border road project as having a hidden agenda – a Dry Canal, that connects Pacific and Atlantic ocean, as well as also having a oil pipeline and industrial docking facilities.

The Dry Canal has been tabled a number of time in recent history, not only for Costa Rica but in Nicaragua as well.

The dry canal would be a highway dedicated only for container transit between Atlantic and Pacific. Proposals for 4, 6 and 8 lanes have been put forward over the years. Except for emergency and rest stops and exits, the highway is essentially a high speed transport system, where containers can be unloaded one day, and be reloaded the next, alleviating long wait times for canal transit.

As globalization continues at an exponential rate, cargo volumes through the Panama Canal are expected to double by 2025.

Transiting the Panama Canal in the high season is time consuming and expensive. It is not uncommon for vessels to wait 10 days before transiting the canal. It can cost shippers as much as $50,000 per day to sit idle, which has resulted in a complex bidding system. It has been reported in some cases oil tankers paid over $200,000 (not including transit fees) to jump ahead of other ships.

A dry canal could include rail, oil pipeline, and high speed multiple lanes truck/container transportation.

The dry canal dream has been around for several decades, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and now China was reportedly negotiating with Colombia on a dry canal proposal.

With Nicaragua pushing for its own canal project, we can count on continuing dry canal discussion and proposals.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica

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