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Guatemala: one more canal?

Monday, July 22, 2013

With the news last week that Guatemala is planning an Atlantic-to-Pacific transportation link, every Central American country with a coast on both oceans, except Costa Rica, now wants a canal.

In recent weeks, both Nicaragua and Honduras announced their intention to proceed with such a plan, while there is speculation in Mexico over Chinese investment in a connection across the Tehuantepec isthmus.

All of these projects, including that of Guatemala, involve dry canals, in each case with a railroad connecting two ports.

Guatemala will by the end this year have bought the land needed for the so-called Inter-ocean Corridor, which would consist of a double-track railroad, a highway and oil and gas pipelines, along with new port terminals and industrial parks, said president Otto Pérez.

The plan will developed by Holding Corredor Interoceánico de Guatemala.

Few details are available in relation to any of the projects, other than that Nicaragua is the only country considering a ship canal.

Panama is currently the only Central American country to be building a canal.

However, the new waterway, which is scheduled to go into operation in 2015, will not be wide enough to take the next generation of container or cruise ships, or bulk carriers, in which case an additional project coulc be viable.