The January 16, 2014 issue of Port Technology furnished us with this question … and answer. “Will this break Panama’s Monopoly?” Development will be one of Central America’s largest ever investments. Work on a new Central American mega-waterway will start later this year, according to a report in The Telegraph. Backers of the project – estimated to cost $ 40 billion – say the 170-mile shipping route from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean, traversing Nicaragua, will take five years to complete.

Funding for the project is being led by Chinese telecoms billionaire Wang Jing, whose HKND Group won a license for the development last year. In a statement, Mr. Wang and the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said canal construction work will begin as planned in December 2014. The project, which will traverse Lake Nicaragua, also includes an oil pipeline, a railroad and two airports. Environmental concerns have been raised about the freshwater expanse, but Mr. Wang told The Telegraph that protecting the area was a key priority.

“‘I take all responsibility for any environmental damage. I have told my employees that if we make a mistake on this front, we will be dishonored in the history textbooks of Nicaragua,’ he said.

“The development will be one of Central America’s largest-ever investments and is expected to break Panama’s monopoly on shipping through Central America.

“The canal’s own extension has been repeatedly delayed.” –

So, will this break Panama’s Monopoly? Of course not. When both canals are finally operative, all Panama has to do is offer lower rates than those set up by Mr. Wang and all bets will be off. They’ll be at each other’s throats and the ultimate beneficiaries will be the consumers who pay the freight. That spells bad news for the investors in both canal projects – and then all bets will surely be off. Good. That will open the door for the canal we proposed to President Reagan back on March 15, 1982 (Cf. Vol. XXVII, Art. 25) – a project that will make both Central American projects, as well as the canal proposed by Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan, look like grammar school Science Fair displays. Referring to that proposed canal in Turkey, we wrote: “Sounds like a great idea, Right? One of the biggest development projects in the world, the Prime Minister calls it. One of the biggest, yes, but not the very biggest. The ‘project’ we proposed to President Reagan back in 1982 (32 years ago), would be the very biggest. Like we said in that earlier commentary, ‘It will be mankind’s greatest undertaking and greatest achievement.’

“According to the Bloomberg report, the ‘Istanbul Canal’ would spawn two new cities, but as we pointed out, our ‘project’ will require construction of eight new cities and fifteen new harbors in the continental U.S.’

“We also made it clear that ‘Every U.S. citizen and most of the world’s population will benefit from this project for an indefinite period of time.’ How so?

“Here’s the GENERAL STATEMENT we sent to President Reagan on March 15, 1982:

“I propose that the U.S. Government begin construction of a canal along the U.S.-MEXICAN border, connecting the GULF OF MEXICO with the PACIFIC OCEAN.

“This canal will be approximately 1,600 miles long and Ω mile wide, will provide a continuous coastline for the U.S., and will be able to accommodate the largest ocean-going vessels.

“At least eight major cities and 15 seaports will be required on the U.S. side of the canal along with similar facilities on MEXICO’s side. Fifty or more bridges will be required to handle the flow of traffic and commerce between the newly-developed regions in southwestern U.S. and northern MEXICO.

“Low-lying areas can be transformed into man-made lakes and reservoirs by means of flooding and the use of aqueducts. A rainy regime in place of the present heat regime will be the natural consequence of this action, and lush vegetation and a more temperate climate will prevail over what is now hot, arid wasteland.

“Approximately two dozen underground power plants will provide electricity and water to the U.S. communities. These dual-purpose facilities should be patterned along the lines of the nuclear desalinization plant at SHEVCHENKO on the northeast shore of the CASPIAN SEA. At least a billion gallons of fresh water each day will be provided to the region, and much of it will be used for irrigation. Thousands of acres of land will be made arable, and the coming food crisis will be postponed indefinitely.

“The availability of fresh water through such desalinization plants will make it possible for SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, and other areas, to avoid the expected water shortage in the coming years.

“The development of this region will require airports, transportation and freight terminals, manufacturing facilities, commercial and residential structures, and high-speed trains linking the new southwestern cities with those on both coasts and in the Midwest.

“This project will require the resources of several hundred of the nation’s largest contractors. Supporting facilities and firms throughout the country will be fully engaged for many years.

“The project will bring employment to millions who are presently jobless. Increased revenues and reduced welfare obligations will enable the federal government to balance the budget, amortize the national debt, restructure Social Security and maintain the nation’s defenses.” –

“So that’s the GENERAL STATEMENT we sent to President Reagan. Did we miss anything? Food, electricity, water, jobs, affordable transportation facilities, a balanced budget, amortization of the national debt – every potential disaster anticipated and averted. And yes – this ‘project’ would have put the kibosh on illegal immigration and drug trafficking. How different life would be today!”