$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)
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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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