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Nicaragua Canal

The Nicaragua Canal is a transoceanic canal through Nicaragua that links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to rival Panama's waterway. The idea of constructing a major waterway in Nicaragua was first proposed in the early colonial era as an alternative to the Panama option. Napoleon III wrote an article about its feasibility in the early 19th century. In the early 20th century, the United States abandoned plans to construct a waterway in Nicaragua after it purchased the French interests in the Panama Canal. From the late 19th century to the 21st century the Nicaragua Canal option resurfaced from time to time with various stakeholders expressing interest at constructing or financing the project. However, these interests never went further than surveys and feasibility studies.

Due to the steady increase in global shipping in the 21st century with the rise of countries such as China, India and others in the developing world, the Nicaragua Canal as a new shipping route became economically viable. In June 2013, Nicaragua's National Assembly approved a bill to grant a 100-year operational right to the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND Group) to fund and build the waterway.

At 172 miles (278 km), the waterway is over three times the length of the 100-year-old Panama Canal, which was completed by the United States 34 years after French engineers began it. Construction of the canal, estimated to cost $50 billion, officially began on December 22, 2014, with completion due within five years to become operational by around 2020. Compared to the Panama Canal, the Nicaragua Canal will be both deeper and wider. The success of the Nicaragua Canal will raise annual economic growth to more than 10 percent of Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

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