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Logo Central America Link

Region: canal de jour

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Now Honduras wants a canal.

This comes a week after Nicaragua announced a $40 billion plan to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Not to mention the second Panama Canal, which opens in two years.

But wait.

Mexico wants one, too.

And why not?

Billions of dollars in annual shipping fees are at stake.

The latest player in the logistics game is Honduras, whose president Porfirio Lobo, signed a memorandum of understanding with China Harbour, to build a $20 billion rail link between Cortés on the Caribbean and San Lorenzo on the Pacific Coast.

Earlier this month, Nicaragua approved a $40 billion plan, which would let a Chinese company dig and operate an inter-ocean shipping canal, the depth and width of Suez.

Meanwhile, Chinese investors are "very interested” in modernizing a 200-kilometer rail link across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, from Medias Aguas on the Caribbean to Salina Cruz on the Pacific, according to Mexico's Transport Ministry.

Each of these projects is ambitious.

On the other hand, all of them involve partners from China, which has a strategic interest in the region.

For its part, Panama could be vulnerable.

The new canal will be nearly twice as big as the old one.

But it will be too small to accommodate many of the next generation of container ships, bulks carriers or cruise vessels.