Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is Another Canal Necessary?

I have always contended I never know where my inspiration will come for my next post. This is another classic example! I saw an article on about building a new canal connecting the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea across Nicaragua, and it struck my interest. 

I started reading about the pluses and minuses of building a canal that is a 173-mile artificial waterway — which is three and one-half times the length of the Panama Canal. There are many advantages and disadvantages on both sides of building such an enormous project through dense rain forests, wetlands and Lake Nicaragua.

Without going into a lot of the details, suffice it to say, it is a very controversial project that is scheduled to start next month!

Here is a map of the proposed canal:

Click on the image to make it larger: has another great article on the Panama Canal, its rich history and the expansion that was started in 2007 and will bring it to a point where it will handle most of the large ships going through the proposed Nicaraguan Canal. That project will be finished in 2015. The new Panama Canal will have more locks, deeper and wider navigational channels.

The thing that struck me about building an all-new canal through Nicaragua, besides the environmental effect, is the area is a large hurricane area, which is prone to dramatic hurricanes, which could cause significant damage at any time! 

Like every project of any size it all boils down to money! When the United States turned over complete control of the Panama Canal to Panama in 1999, all of the tolls went with it. It is a significant amount of money each ship must pay to travel through the canal. Tolls for the largest ships can run $450,000! One can only imagine what the cargo on that ship must be worth.

I am positive that kind of money could help Nicaragua, which is one of the, if not the poorest country in Central America. It is an interesting dilemma.

Personally, I believe we should stay with the current Panama Canal with its new updates that will allow most mega ships through.

One last interesting fact I got from the article: "Some 52,000,000 gallons of fresh water are used each time I ship makes a trip through the Panama Canal. The water comes from Gatun Lake, which was formed during the canals construction by damning the Charges River. Within area of more than 163 square miles, Gatun Lake was once the world's largest man-made lake."

As always, I look forward to your comments.




Colleen said...

I have read several articles in past months about this proposal and for the life of me. I can not see the absolute value in this new canal. With the upgrade to present canal to be completed, almost all mega huge ships can be accommodated. The environmental aspect of this seems catastrophic to say the very least.

Karen B said...

It’s an ecological disaster!

Earl said...

We've been so environmentally spoiled as a species we can't see our own demise coming. Same message in NY Times today. The grandkids will live in a very different world.