EFE: HKND sees no difficulties in obtaining financing for the Nicaragua Canal
Managua, October 13 (EFE).- The firm HKND Group from Hong Kong, China said today that it does not see difficulties in obtaining international financing for the project of the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal, nor does it foresee that the alleged economic loss in the stock market of its owner, Wang Jing, will have any relevant impact on the Project.
Recently, Bloomberg reported that the owner of the company which was awarded a concession for the canal project, the investor Wang Jing, lost 84% of his fortune in the stock market due to a fall in the Chinese capital markets.
However, HKND Group have clarified doubts and said that this does not anticipate any relevant impact on the project, which has an estimated cost of 50 billion dollars.
The Executive Vice President of the company, KW Pang, explained to EFE that the project is in full swing in terms of preparing tenders for the integrated Canal/Port operation, locks design and dredging.
After obtaining the approval for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), conducted by the British firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM), they would move forward with the reference design contracts.
Once these designs have been verified through the aerial survey data, the design and construction contracts would be issued, said Pang.
The manager pointed out that investors are very cautious when it comes to taking risks. Thus they want to do it after seeing the approval of the ESIA and the successful resettlement of the affected people.
The released executive summary of the environmental studies confirms that it is possible to build an interoceanic canal in Nicaragua, and stresses the need for "transparent" information.
The studies conclude that the project "offers real benefits to the environment and people, but only if its business case is robust, the financing is secure", and if it is executed under "international standards".
"The project has been and will be executed with the best international practices and we do not see difficulties in obtaining international financing", Pang assured EFE.
He further added that the information obtained from the undertaken public consultations is positive, and that people are aware that the present environmental situation in Nicaragua is deteriorating at an alarming rate, especially Lake Nicaragua.
The work would divide the country into two and cross Lake Nicaragua or Cocibolca.
Pang explained that the Canal can help to preserve the remaining native forests in Indio Maiz and help the Lake to recover.
He also said that as a result of the economic benefits to be brought by the canal, people will become self-sustained and they will not need to slash and burn the forest for farming as they are doing now.
He also noted that the canal route is still subject to minor adjustments with more accurate geological, hydrological and topographical data for the benefit of the environment, people or construction needs.
The canal is expected to be operational 5 years after the commencement of the major works (major excavation and Lock construction).
HKND wants to build a canal three times larger than the one operating in Panama, which would shorten shipping routes by thousands of kilometers.
The Nicaragua Canal is necessary, according to the company, because shipping traffic requires increasingly large vessels, exceeding the capacity of the Panama Canal, even after the expansion.
In addition, the location of the Nicaragua canal, in the Central American isthmus but further north than Panama, will shorten the distance between the East Coast of the United States and China by about 4,000 kilometers according to the calculations of the Chinese concessionaire.
HKND estimates that 27,000 people will be relocated because of the project.
The project includes "sub-projects" such as roads, two ports, an airport, a free trade zone and several tourist resorts.