$40B Nicaragua Canal would be 3X bigger than Panama Canal

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$40B Nicaragua Canal Would Be 3X Bigger Than Panama Canal

Looks like the Panama Canal, long the only shipping canal connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, might be losing that distinction in the near future.

Meet the proposed Nicaragua Canal. RT reports, "Its potential final route was announced Tuesday by Hong Kong-based developer HKND Group."

​The canal, which HKND CEO Wang Jing calls, "the biggest project built in the history of humanity," would stretch some 173 miles across the Central American country, connecting Punta Gorda on the Caribbean to the mouth of the river Brito on the Pacific.

If you want to understand just how massive this is, people consider the Panama Canal one of the engineering wonders of world. This thing would be three times as big.
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$40B Nicaragua Canal would be 3X bigger than Panama Canal
A late-afternoon sun illuminates part of the Brito Inlet, Dec. 26, 2013, which Nicaragua says is the likely Pacific Coast outlet of a planned interoceanic canal to rival that of Panama. (Tim Johnson/MCT via Getty Images)
Nicaragua hopes Chinese capital will help it build an interoceanic canal a little south of this Pacific coast spot. The canal would become a rival to the 100-year-old Panama Canal. (Tim Johnson/MCT via Getty Images)
The head of Nicaragua's interoceanic canal authority, Manuel Coronel Kautz, stands before a topographic map of his nation, Dec. 17, 2013. (Tim Johnson/MCT via Getty Images)
Fisherman Pedro Luis Gutierrez said as many as 500 Chinese technicians have come through his Pacific coast village of Brito in Nicaragua to take measurements for a possible interoceanic canal. (Tim Johnson/MCT via Getty Images)
In this old newspaper photo from El Nuevo Diaro from the 1950s, fishermen stand on a wharf before sharks they caught in Lake Nicaragua. The freshwater lake is one of the few where sharks are known to reside, arriving upstream from a river to the ocean. (Tim Johnson/MCT via Getty Images)
Wang Jing, chairman of Beijing Xinwei Telecom Technology Co Ltd. and chief executive officer and chairman of HKND Group, speaks during a news briefing in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Wang, the Chinese billionaire behind a $40 billion plan to cut a canal through Nicaragua, said hes successfully attracted global investors for a project that has been on the drawing board for more than 150 years. Photographer: Dieter Depypere/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nicaraguans protest in front the National Parliament against the inter-oceanic canal in Managua, on June 13, 2013. President Daniel Ortega said last week a concession to build an inter-oceanic canal across his Central American nation was awarded to an unnamed Chinese consortium based in Hong Kong. AFP PHOTO/Inti OCON (Photo credit should read Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Bolivian Ronald Maclean Abaroa, spokesman of the Chinese company HK Nicaragua Development Gran Canal Interoceanico, talks with journalists about the Nicaraguan canal project in Managua, on June 12, 2013. President Daniel Ortega said last week a concession to build an inter-oceanic canal across his Central American nation was awarded to an unnamed Chinese consortium based in Hong Kong. AFP PHOTO/Inti OCON (Photo credit should read Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Bolivian Ronald Maclean Abaroa, spokesman of the Chinese company HK Nicaragua Development Gran Canal Interoceanico, talks with journalists about the Nicaraguan canal project in Managua, on June 12, 2013. President Daniel Ortega said last week a concession to build an inter-oceanic canal across his Central American nation was awarded to an unnamed Chinese consortium based in Hong Kong. AFP PHOTO/Inti OCON (Photo credit should read Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicaraguan opposition lawmakers protest in the National Parliament against the inter-oceanic canal in Managua, on June 13, 2013. President Daniel Ortega said last week a concession to build an inter-oceanic canal across his Central American nation was awarded to an unnamed Chinese consortium based in Hong Kong. AFP PHOTO/Inti OCON (Photo credit should read Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (L) shake hands with Wang Jing, president of of the Chinese company HK Nicaragua Development Gran Canal Interoceanico, during the framework agreement for the construction of the Interoceanic Grand Canal in Managua, on June 14, 2013. Nicaraguan lawmakers approved a controversial deal that would allow a Hong Kong company to build a $40 billion oceanic waterway to rival the Panama Canal, and then manage it for the next 50 years. Environmental activists fear the worst for Lake Nicaragua, which the planned waterway will pass through. AFP/Inti OCON (Photo credit should read Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicaraguans protest in front the National Parliament against the inter-oceanic canal in Managua, on June 13, 2013. President Daniel Ortega said last week a concession to build an inter-oceanic canal across his Central American nation was awarded to an unnamed Chinese consortium based in Hong Kong. AFP PHOTO/Inti OCON (Photo credit should read Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (L) stands with Wang Jing, president of of the Chinese company HK Nicaragua Development Gran Canal Interoceanico, during the framework agreement for the construction of the Interoceanic Grand Canal in Managua, on June 14, 2013. Nicaraguan lawmakers approved a controversial deal that would allow a Hong Kong company to build a $40 billion oceanic waterway to rival the Panama Canal, and then manage it for the next 50 years. Environmental activists fear the worst for Lake Nicaragua, which the planned waterway will pass through. AFP/Inti OCON (Photo credit should read Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (L) speaks next to Wang Jing (R), president of Chinese Company HK Nicaragua Development Gran Canal Interoceanico, during the framework agreement for the construction of the Interoceanic Grand Canal in Managua, on June 14, 2013. Nicaraguan lawmakers approved a controversial deal that would allow a Hong Kong company to build a $40 billion oceanic waterway to rival the Panama Canal, and then manage it for the next 50 years. Environmental activists fear the worst for Lake Nicaragua, which the planned waterway will pass through. AFP/Inti OCON (Photo credit should read Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicaragua Isthmus Canal, 1898. Illustration by Maximillian Von Sonnenstern. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
Nicaragua Isthmus Canal, 1870. Illustration by Julius Bien Co. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
A topographic map (by Trelawney Saunders) shows the countries of Central America: Republic of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Veragua (modern-day Panama) as well as several proposed canals, 1850. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
In this Dec. 6, 2013 photo, Manuel Coronel Kautz, a veteran Sandinista and now president of the country’s Great Inter-Oceanic Canal Authority sits next to a wall showing maps and plans during an interview in Managua, Nicaragua. Six months after the Sandinista government granted a Chinese businessman a 100-year concession to build a vast canal across the country, Nicaraguans are confident the $40 billion canal will become reality, lifting their country from poverty to prosperity. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Wang Jing, chairman of Hong-Kong HKND Group, attends a press conference at a Beijing hotel Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Wang, a Chinese businessman behind the plan to build a canal in central America to rival Panama Canal said his ambitions are well researched and backed up by an experienced team, despite skepticism that the 40-year-old may not deliver the $40 billion project. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
CORRECTS TRANSLATION OF SIGN - A woman shouting holds a picture of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega that reads in Spanish "The biggest thief and traitor of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, illegal president" at a protest against a canal project outside the National Assembly in Managua, Nicaragua, Thursday, June 13, 2013. A multi-billion dollar proposal to plow a massive rival to the Panama Canal across the middle of Nicaragua was approved by the National Assembly Thursday, capping a lightning-fast approval process that has provoked deep skepticism among shipping experts and concern among environmentalists. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Protesters stand on signs of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega which read in Spanish "The biggest thief and traitor of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, illegal president" at a demonstration against a canal project outside the National Assembly in Managua, Nicaragua, Thursday, June 13, 2013. A multi-billion dollar proposal to plow a massive rival to the Panama Canal across the middle of Nicaragua was approved by the National Assembly Thursday, capping a lightning-fast approval process that has provoked deep skepticism among shipping experts and concern among environmentalists. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
CORRECTS TRANSLATIONS OF SIGNS - Anti-government demonstrators march in front of Nicaragua's National Assembly during a protest against the project to build an inter-oceanic canal in the country in Managua, Nicaragua, Thursday, June 13, 2013. A multi-billion dollar Chinese plan to plow a massive rival to the Panama Canal across the middle of Nicaragua was headed for approval by the leftist-controlled National Assembly today capping a lightning-fast approval process that has provoked skepticism among shipping experts and concern among environmentalists. The woman holds portraits of lawmaker Cesar Castellanos, left, reading in Spanish "Thief traitor" and President Daniel Ortega reading"The biggest thief and traitor of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, illegal president."(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
A youth jumps from the wharf into Cocibolca Lake, also known as Nicaragua Lake, in Granada, Nicaragua, Friday, June 7, 2013. A concession to build a canal across Nicaragua linking the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, which would go through the waters of Lake Nicaragua, will be awarded to a Chinese company, the National Assembly president said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Navy police officers patrol the waters of the Panama Canal during the Panamax 2010 naval air maneuvers in Panama City, Tuesday Aug. 17, 2010. Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, U.S and Uruguay are participating in these exercises as a training to reinforce security in the Panama Canal. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
A cartographer works in the communication center of the USS Kearsage as part of the annual Operation Panamax 2006, a multinational training designed to protect the Panama Canal from a possible attack or emergency, Friday, Aug. 25, 2006. Participating in this annual training are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Rep. Dominican, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, United Kingdom, U.S., and Panama. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2007 file photo, two fishermen lift their net in Lake Managua, near Managua, Nicaragua. The Central American goverment is trying to revive a centuries-old dream of building an inter-ocean canal. Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega presented the project to Congress June 4, 2013, and hopes to submit it to at least an initial vote on June 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)
A ship arrives with new rolling gates for the Panama Canal's third set of locks for the canal's expansion project at Limon Bay, Gatun, Panama, Tuesday, June 10. 2014. According the Panama Canal Authority, the second group of four gates for the new locks has arrived from Italy. The construction of the third set of locks will allow the passage of Post-Panamax vessels or container ships much too big to fit through the Panama Canal's old locks. (AP Photo/Tito Herrera)
A man walks alone inside the Panama Canal expansion project in Gatun, Panama, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. The canal expansion project remained idle after the administrator of the Panama Canal said Wednesday that work would resume Thursday after it was halted over a disagreement with a contractor on cost overruns. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
A cargo ship passes under the Americas Bridge as it exits the Panama Canal waters on route to Pacific Ocean in Panama City, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Panama Canal Authority wants to end a standoff over the expansion of the canal by splitting construction costs with an international consortium that has threatened to halt work unless the authority comes up with $1.6 billion in extra funding. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Construction continues on the Panama Canal's Atlantic side as cargo ships navigate though Gatun Lake in Gatun, north of Panama City, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. The consortium responsible for most of the expansion issued an ultimatum giving the Panama Canal Authority under a month to pay for a cost overrun to build a third set of locks, threatening to halt the Panama Canal's expansion. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
People take pictures of each other over the Panama Canal from a new viewing area during a media tour in Gatun, Panama, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. The canal marks it's 98th anniversary on Wednesday as it undergoes the biggest expansion project since it opened in 1914, which will allow larger Post-Panamax ships to cross the canal. The expansion project is projected to be finished by 2014. The new viewing location is currently open to canal workers but will open to tourists when the canal expansion project is done. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
A folk dancer called Congo stands in the new viewing area of the Panama Canal before his presentation as part of events marking the area's opening in Gatun, Panama, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. The canal marks it's 98th anniversary on Wednesday as it undergoes the biggest expansion project since it opened in 1914, which will allow larger Post-Panamax ships to cross the canal. The new viewing location is currently open to canal workers but will open to tourists when the canal expansion project is done, planned for in 2014. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
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The new canal, which would cost an estimated $40 billion, could accommodate Maersk Triple E class ships, which can carry 18,000 containers: more than triple the current capacity of the Panama Canal.

The Panama Canal Authority is currently working to expand the current canal, but even after construction is finished it will still fall short of the Nicaragua Canal by about 6,000 containers.

According to Nicaraguan officials, the Nicaragua Canal isn't looking to compete with its Panamanian neighbor.

Instead, as the BBC reports, officials hope to compliment the existing canal.

In fact, according to La Prensa, the University of Nicaragua is collaborating with its counterpart in Panama to prepare students for work on the project.

And they're not the only ones collaborating. Russia Beyond the Headlines reports "the Russian government will also be joining in, providing security for the project."

So Russia and China are working together some 2,000 miles south of the American border. Where does that leave the U.S.?

Well, while there still hasn't been any word from The White House on the issue, some pundits argue the U.S.'s biggest problem lies in its own ports.

CNN says that "​only 10 of America's approximately 55 major ports will be ready for the bigger ships [by 2015]"

The entire project is still pending environmental impact studies, as the canal passes through Lake Nicaragua, and critics are concerned it could have disastrous effects on the lake.

Officials say they plan on starting work on the canal by the end of this year.
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