Nicaragua Canal Project Won "2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Award"
On June 11, 2015, the three-day 13th Latin American Infrastructure Leadership Forum concluded in Antigua, Guatemala. Among the five categories of the “2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Awards", the Nicaragua Grand Interoceanic Canal is highly recognized by the judging panel and is granted “Strategic Project of the Year Award” and “Job Creation Project of the Year Award”, making it the most noticeable project on the forum.
According to the judging panel, the “Strategic Project of the Year Award” is granted to the Nicaragua Canal Project on the ground that it has demonstrated leadership, tenacity and imagination required to develop mega projects. Projects of the Year awards recognize the projects - and the leaders behind the projects - that will serve as models for vastly increased infrastructure investment in the region.
The 13th Latin American Infrastructure Leadership Forum was hosted by the US-based consultancy CG/LA Infrastructure, one of the most prestigious infrastructure forum organizers in the world. CG/LA Infrastructure holds three infrastructure forums annually, namely the North America Infrastructure Leadership Forum, the Latin American Infrastructure Leadership Forum and the Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum, among which the Latin American Infrastructure Leadership Forum is most renowned for its high level of professionalism and authority. In the last decade, the Latin American Forum is the only infrastructure event of global significance in Latin America and the Caribbean, and its winners list is the most influential in the region.
Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of HKND, delivered a keynote speech at the forum on behalf of the Canal Project, introducing the largest civil engineering project in the world to the audience.
As Bill mentioned, the Nicaragua Grand Canal will serve the busy trade links between East Asia, US Coasts and Europe, and provide a more convenient interoceanic passage for large vessels that cannot transit the Panama Canal, such as the 25,000 TEU container ships.
Bill explained the great efforts made by HKND on environmental protection. He said, in order to avoid the environmentally and socially sensitive areas, HKND group has made a series of adjustment to the canal alignment in spite of the economic costs caused.
Over the past two years, HKND has made tremendous efforts on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). The ESIA report has been submitted to the Government of Nicaragua recently and is now awaiting approval from the government. “HKND Group is committed to strictly follow all international standards, and execute proper control, mitigation and offset measures for the Project’s environmental and social impacts, ensuring that the Nicaragua Grand Canal will achieve net positive impact in these two aspects”, Bill said.
According to Bill, HKND will launch a massive re-forestation program for watersheds along the canal alignment. Once completed, the Canal will serve as a protective barrier for the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve, protecting this particular area from the further encroachment by human activities. The project will reserve a 10km wide "no-go area" in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor so as not to affect wildlife migration in this area.
“In fact, the forestation in Nicaragua is now degrading at an alarming speed due to the widespread traditional agriculture practice accompanied with deforestation. The damage to vegetation occurred over the recent three years is worse than that of the last two decades. The Canal project is the only means to halt the current degradation of the Nicaraguan forests and prevent destruction of the handful of untouched ecological reserves, such as Indio Maiz”, Bill emphasized.
As to the Resettlement Action Plan, Bill assured that all relocated population will see continual improvement in their living standards as the Canal Project will provide fair compensation for land expropriation, improved housing conditions, social services and infrastructure, as well as an abundance of job opportunities.
“The construction and operation of the Canal will bring a massive boost to the economy of Nicaragua and create a large number of employment opportunities. The living standards will be improved significantly for all Nicaraguans”, Bill emphasized before an audience of over 400 enterprise leaders and government delegates from Latin America and all over the world.
Bill also mentioned that, according to public opinion surveys carried out by different institutions, expectations and support in Nicaragua to the Canal are quite high. Result of the latest national social opinion survey conducted by M&R Consultants of Nicaragua, affiliate of the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR), in March showed that over 70% of the population in Nicaragua supports the Canal. “It’s an incredible level of support, and this level does not get achieved by many infrastructure projects anywhere else in the world”, the Australian expert indicated.
Bill added that it is an exceptional progress to bring a project of this size to the current stage in two years. Although there is skepticism goes as how quickly the project is proceeding, but we can say that there is absolutely certainty that no other project in the world has made the progress we’re making and have made so far.
“The Canal Project is on track. The unprecedented magnitude of the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal raises a challenge to us, but we are ready take it”, Bill stressed in the conclusion of his speech.
The 13th Latin American Infrastructure Leadership Forum with the theme being “Creating a New Growth Paradigm for Latin America” is sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), etc. In total, 40 key infrastructure projects under development in Latin America were presented in this forum.
During the forum, the Nicaragua Grand Canal Project aroused great interests among all participants. Therefore, delegates of HKND Group have taken this opportunity to exchange opinions and meet with representatives from notable engineering companies, construction companies and financial institutions around the world.