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Costa Rica presents interoceanic canal project

November 14, 2016

Officials from various public agencies announced that they are evaluating a proposal to build an interoceanic shipping canal through the country’s northern zone to connect ports on the Caribbean and the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica.

The National Concessions Council (CNC) on Monday confirmed they have received the proposal for the $16 billion project from Canal Seco de Costa Rica (CANSEC), a private consortium.

The megaproject would link three ports: one on the Caribbean coast in Parismina, another in San Carlos, north of Alajuela province and another in Santa Elena, in La Cruz, Guanacaste.

Silvia Jiménez, technical director of the CNC, said at a press conference on Monday that ports would be connected by 315 kilometers (196 miles) of railways that can accomodate double-height containers.

The proposed project also includes the construction of a 10-lane road, 30 hydroelectric plants and two seaports.

Ambitious project

CANSEC representative Lucia D’Ambrossio said at the presentation that the project is the opportunity the country needs to position itself globally.

“It’s an integral solution. The canal would end the traffic jams. It will change the face of the provinces and make the country a global reference,” she said.

Public Works and Transport (MOPT) Minister Carlos Villalta said this would be the most ambitious and expensive project in the country’s history. Villalta said that the first phase of the project is already underway: analyzing the documents that make up the CANSEC proposal.

“The impact of this project would be similar to that of Panama Canal, as it would create about 80,000 jobs for the country,” Villalta said.

Initial estimates indicate that completion of the project would take five years. The feasibility studies of the project will be ready in a year, while the public bidding and the signing of the contract with the selected firm would take 18 months. Construction would take about three years, MOPT reported.

Minister Villalta also said that four investor groups have already shown interest in financing the project.

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