I was speaking with a friend of mine who is an aircraft engineer for a large Chinese company out of Hong Kong and he told me about a huge canal project set to get underway in Nicaragua that will make the Panama canal looks like child's play. This canal shall be wider and deeper than it's predecessor cutting through the Nicaragua Lake with a reported budget of between $40 to $50 billion USD. (See photo below)
I recall reading about this at the beginning of 2015 but really didn't think about it until now. One should find it amazing that this ambitious and mammoth project hardly gets any mainstream media coverage. This is a clear indication of what the Chinese are thinking for the future in global water ways. Not to mention, it's implications from a military and strategic perspective.
If built, this new waterway is expected to rival the Panama Canal in many ways and is reportedly set to have a deadline date of 2020 for completion.
Here's an interesting article on Bloomberg regarding other Chinese projects in Central and South America that might shed more light on this subject: