Colombia’s Minister of Transportation, German Cardona, announced major infrastructure projects to develop trade routes, reported local media Tuesday.
Cardona’s announcement was part of a speech he gave in the northern city of Cartagena, celebrating the opening of a new rail line entitled, “The Great Leap 2014.”
The minister spoke of improving highways, waterways, ports, and airports to lower costs of Colombia’s exports and make them more competitive.
Cardona specifically mentioned completing the Varadero Canal, which would allow Cartagena Port to service larger ships and make it more compatible with the Panama Canal. The minister explained, “this way we increase the compatibility with Panama in the shipping trade and shipping services . . . and allow access by large passenger lines, increasing expected tourism.”
Critics have noted Varadero Canal’s $60 billion estimated cost is far greater than the $6 billion estimated for the Panama Canal expansion project – which Cartagena Canal would work with. Cardona invited private industry to finance the project.
The minister also said the government would invest $2 billion into rehabilitating 17 major high corridors that connected with foreign trade routes.