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Railway sector seeks more private investment

Update: March, 12/2018 - 09:00
Vũ Anh Minh, chairman of the Việt Nam Railways Corporation. — Photo vneconomy.vn

Vũ Anh Minh, chairman of the Việt Nam Railways Corporation speaks to the Thời báo kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) about how to attract private investment into the national railway sector

Could you tell us about the corporation’s restructuring during 2017-20?

The corporation has already finished the first phase of its restructure plan by downsizing the manufacturing side of the corporation, focusing on improving commodities transportation and cutting the ratio of charter capital in its companies. The charter capital it holds in railway companies will be reduced to 51 per cent. This is believed to offer more of a chance for the private sector to participate in the railway sector.

By 2020, as scheduled, the corporation will continue its second-phase restructuring by concentrating on improving labour productivity and merging companies. For example, the corporation schedules to merge two transport companies currently based in Hà Nội and Sài Gòn into one company. The corporation also projects calling on the private sector to invest in order to raise the quality of stations, platforms and carriages.

The corporation has proposed to the Ministry of Transport to allow private investment in Sài Gòn Railway Station. Is there an investor currently?

Actually, the Southern Airports Services Joint Stock Company has asked to work with the corporation to upgrade both the first and second floors of the Sài Gòn Railway Station to better sever the increasing demand of passengers. Services, including convenience stores, coffee shops, restaurants and the lounge will be improved. The company will pay an amount to the corporation each year so that it could run the service at the train station over a five-year term. The contract will be extended every five years.

The corporation is calling upon other investors, especially investors that prove good management capacity, to reach the long-term target of improving customer service at the station. The long-term target is to offer passengers a space where they can go shopping as well as spend time before and after travelling by train.

The corporation has recently inaugurated six high-quality trains. Thus, we also need equally high customer service for passengers.

Previously, the railway sector also attempted to attract private investment to Đà Nẵng Railway Station but failed because the amount of investment capital was too high and the potential profit did not prove attractive to investors.

The railway sector has attempted to call upon private investment in Yên Viên Train Station’s inland container depot (ICD) for two years and has shown initial success. Could you name some other ICDs targeted for private investment?

The railway sector has submitted to the Ministry of Transport a plan to construct some inland container depots in train stations of Sóng Thần in Bình Dương Province; Diêu Trì in Bình Định Province; Đồng Đăng in Lạng Sơn Province; Đông Anh in Hà Nội. Other ICDs could be constructed in localities of Hà Nam, Thanh Hóa, Lào Cai and Vinh in the future.

[ICDs are dry ports equipped for handling and temporary storage of container cargo.]

The corporation is planning to work with investors to effectively run the ICDs and then create a reliable logistics service. It is not hard to call on investment to build ICDs. The hard thing is how to attract more goods containers to deposit at the ICDs. It will help bring additional profit to the railway sector. Sài Gòn Newport Corporation is believed to be the best option for the railway sector to provide good logistical services in the near future. — VNS

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