Executive Vice President of HKND Group: Nicaragua Canal Continues Moving Forward
HONG KONG, Jul 19 (Xinhuanet) -- The Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal, a project exclusively developed and operated by HKND Group, has always attracted national and international attention. Recently, rumors have been circulating about the possible suspension of the Canal Project and concerns of local Nicaraguans over seizure of land and deterioration of the environment. In this regard, Pang Kwok Wai, Executive Vice President of HKND Group, manifested that the Canal project is moving forward steadily while the land acquisition, resettlement and environmental protection campaigns are advancing in accordance with international standards. The so-called fears and the rumors are totally groundless.
In terms of land acquisition and resettlement, HKND Group strictly abides by Nicaraguan laws. For each construction site employed, formal application must be submitted for the Government’s approval. Besides, no acquisition of land is allowed in non-project areas. For the sake of respecting local customs, HKND has given full consideration to and made proper arrangements for resettlement, and has provided various compensation options such as economic compensation and new housing in accordance with the international resettlement practice proposed by the World Bank. In the case of land acquisition, compensation will be determined based on fair price.
HKND has adhered to the rigorous standards on environmental protection when promoting the Canal Project. According to Pang Kwok Wai, the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the Project was undertaken by the world's leading environmental consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM), and was eventually approved by the Government of Nicaragua after a review that lasted for half a year.
Pang also mentioned that with an aim to provide maximum protection to the local environment, before selection of the Canal route, thorough investigations have been made to safeguard the mangroves, wetlands, natural palm forest and marine reserve. In order to protect Lake Nicaragua, the mother lake of the country, the concessionaire has also devoted considerable manpower and material resources to studies and designs, so as to ensure the water quality and provide additional water source for the lake. Also, it is expected these efforts could ease the serious drought issue that this freshwater lake is facing.
According to KW Pang, Nicaraguans have dreamt of building an interoceanic canal for centuries. Since the initiation of this Canal project, a high level of popular support ranging from about 70% to 90% has been maintained throughout these years.
The Nicaragua Canal, a purely commercial project, is carried out in strict compliance with the principle of openness and transparency and with global resources, highlighted Pang.
Pang holds an optimistic attitude about the business outlook of Nicaragua Canal. He indicated that the Canal, once completed, will be able to accommodate container ships up to 25,000 TEU, super tankers of 320,000 dwt and bulk carriers of 300,000 dwt. Not only will the Nicaragua Canal be complementary to the Panama Canal, but it will also play an active role in improving the efficiency of shipping industry, reducing the cost of global maritime traffic and constructing a maritime trade route in Central America under the Belt and Road Initiative.
When speaking of the progress made on the Project, Pang stated that design for the West Lock is well underway, and a series of in-depth studies covering hydrology, water balance, salinity and safety will be conducted to ensure greater security of the lock and minimum impact on the environment. Another sub-project that is moving ahead is the port located on the Pacific coast. HKND is currently seeking to optimize and finalize the port design based on the results of the latest geological survey and canal operation study. In addition, logistics planning and development of the comprehensive environmental management plan are also being carried out in parallel. (Provided by the Asia-Pacific center of Xinhua)