Meeting with Belgian Business Delegation
On April 28, 2015, representatives from HKND Group and the Nicaraguan Canal and Development Project Commission met with the Belgian business delegation in Managua.
The Belgian delegation consisted in seven major construction and engineering companies, including SBE (one of the top global engineering consultants), DEME (dredging group), Jan De Nul Group, IMDC (dredging consultant), SECO (technical control bureau), Vigan Engineering (ship loaders & unloaders manufacturer) and Sarens Group (worldwide leader in heavy lifting and engineered transport). Other attendees were the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Nicaragua, Koenraad Lenaerts; the Commercial Attaché of the Belgium Embassy in Washington, D.C., Bernard Geenen and a representative from the Flanders International Technical Agency (FITA).
Zhu Xiaoya, assistant to the President of HKND Group presented an engineering and technical overview of the Canal project, followed by studies and route realignment efforts for the sustainable protection of the environment and the preservation of Lake Nicaragua, resettlement plan, project progress and works going forward.
Zhu indicated that Belgian firms are experts in dredging, lock construction, equipment supply and project management, with extensive technical experience and competitive advantages. He warmly welcomed Belgian companies to cooperate with HKND.
Laureano Ortega, member of the Canal Commission, briefed the delegation on legal and institutional framework governing the Canal Project and potential investment opportunities.
Some of the companies from the delegation have either been working with HKND or have established a relationship with the concessioner. Other companies have also demonstrated a great interest in the Project. The delegation exchanged opinions with Zhu on topics such as Brito port design, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) approval, tendering timetable and methods; and also expressed interest in exploring cooperation opportunities with HKND Group.
Pieter Van der Avert, Resident Manager for the Caribbean & Latin America of DEME Group, highly appreciated the information provided in this meeting and suggested further discussion with HKND on dredging solutions for the Canal.
The Belgian Ambassador, Koenraad Lenaerts, expressed his gratitude to HKND Group and the Commission for the courtesy of presenting the details of the Project. "I believe all the members in the delegation are very pleased with this meeting," he said, and added that the Canal has raised great interest among Belgian companies. According to Ambassador Lenaerts, a number of majors Belgian companies can help Nicaragua local companies in technical improvement, and "undoubtedly, they are able to contribute to the Project ". The Ambassador considered that the Canal presents a great opportunity for the economic development of Nicaragua.
On April 28-29, the Belgian delegation also met with senior government officials and representatives from the private sector to gain a comprehensive understanding of the developments and investment opportunities presented by the country.