A South China Morning Post article of 9 July, 2014 substantiates the progress made since the game-changing new canal was first reported in October 2013 here When completed as expected in five years, the Nicaragua Canal will be able to accommodate the world's largest container ships now able to dock only at the world's deepest container port - Lianyungang outside Shanghai.
The Ortega government granted an extraordinarily generous 50-year concession, renewable for another 50 years, to a Chinese company based in Hong Kong (controlled by 41-year-old billionaire investor Wang Jing, whose commerical empirs sprawls over mining, infrastructure and telecommunications). See a report on Brookings Online dated 9 July, 2014.
This is one of several trans-continental infrastructural links of epic proportions converging on China as a global trade and transportation hub.
The other is a monumental railway project linking the port of Shenzhen to Kunming in western China and onwards to Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Iran, and then across Turkey to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Known as the “third Eurasian land bridge”, the proposed high-speed-rail network will span 15,000 kilometres, a much shorter and less geopolitically vulnerable journey than that by sea via the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Malacca. A branch line would begin in Turkey, crossing Syria and Palestine, and end in Egypt, providing a rail link from China into Africa. This is described in my South China Morning Post Op-ed of 14 October 2013 on "The Inexorible Tilt" here
Also part of China's global infrastructual ambition is a recently-reported high-speed vision here - a 'China-Russia-Canada-America line' to run for 13,000km across Siberia and pass under the Bering Strait through 200km tunnel.
All these planned or upcoming global rail links would feed into China's domestic empire of high-speed rail criss-crossing China's new and expanding cities at the four corners of the nation.
The ambitious global high-speed blueprint is in support of the "China Dream" of global renaissance as a Great Power.
So next time you wonder why investment continues to account for such a high proportion of China's economy, this global capacity building may be part of the reason.