Officials in Nicaragua have formally announced their intention to build a $20 billion rival to the Panama canal.
The canal would take ten years to build and involve moving ships through a series of giant locks 105ft up to Lake Nicaragua, the second largest lake in Latin America before sending them along a route that would largely follow the San Juan River.
The economic feasibility of the project is debatable, and officials are debating whether or not it is needed given the massive environmental concerns and a major upgrade being completed at Panama. Located 500 miles to the south, the Panama canal is undergoing renos to allow increased traffic and the ability to accommodate larger vessels. However, despite upgrades the largest ship that will be able to pass through Panama would be 120,000 tonnes, where the proposed Nicaraguan canal could accomodate 250,000 tonne supertankers.
The project would be funded largely by Chinese and Japanese investors, as Nicaragua's GDP equal just 5% of the projects costs.