BMT to Assist Nicaragua Canal Developers

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

09 December 2015

Following on from the article on canals in the last ShipInsight Journal, the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Group (HKND) has engaged BMT Asia Pacific to undertake a series of marine and port assessments for the project.
“Our Study will seek to articulate a solution that minimises canal excavation while ensuring adequate canal capacity and safety,” said Dr Richard D Colwill, MD at BMT Asia Pacific. “A crucial part of that solution involves sophisticated navigation and transport simulation, which will set the basis for identifying a design that balances excavation CAPEX with operational safety, efficiency and capacity.”
Navigation simulators recreate typical scenarios that a ship master would experience and BMT’s proprietary simulator, REMBRANDT, is recognised by the shipping sector for its accurate and detailed recreations of the navigation environment. Its What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) output provides a powerful platform that assists engineers and mariners to investigate different design geometries.
“Through REMBRANDT BMT will provide early and decisive insight on potential marine constraints, enabling us to identify appropriate mitigation and optimisation measures - be it physical or operational in nature,” Captain Paul Morter of BMT ARGOSS explains.
In addition to carrying out operational assessments, BMT will also update the business case for the Canal’s Pacific and Caribbean ocean ports. Central America is one of the most important corridors of global shipping and BMT, with extensive experience in Port Masterplanning and Port Strategy, will support HKND in identifying the port’s potential competitive positioning along this key artery of global trade. K W Pang, Executive Director at HKND adds: “The Nicaragua Canal system will see a large variety of vessels and wide range of vessel movements along the canal, within the inland ports, and between canal, port and ocean approaches. These activities occur with differing metocean conditions, transit speeds/directions, and transit modes, etc. Recognising this complexity, we are seeking to access BMT’s global network of subject matter experts to assemble a highly capable, technical team to address the Canal’s marine safety and traffic challenges from all angles.” If built the Nicaragua Canal will provide an alternative to the Panama Canal for transits between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans but is intended to accommodate much larger vessels and could prove teh catalyst for a major change in established trade routes.