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Express railway to provide important north-south link

Update: August, 26/2007 - 00:00

Express railway to provide important north-south link

(27-08-2007)

Nguyen Huu Bang of Viet Nam Railway Corporation spoke to Thoi bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) about obstacles facing the North-South Express Railway Project.

Could you reveal the progress of the North-South Express Railway Project thus far?

The project of the North-South Express Railway is one of the strategic projects of Viet Nam’s railway sector. The Vietnamese government has permitted to set up an investment report and select consultant institutions.

The project will be divided into 3 phases of building 1,630km of double railway.

In the first phase, from 2007 to 2009, investment reports will be mapped out and approved.

In the second phase, from 2010 to 2015, construction of the section of railway between Ha Noi-Hue and Nha Trang-HCM City section will begin.

The section of railway between Hue-Nha Trang will be carried out in the third phase after 2015.

The project’s capital investment is estimated to be about US$33 billion. How much of counterpart capital is contributed by Viet Nam? How will the capital be mobilised?

The investment capital of $33 billion is really big and a difficulty to the project. Included in the total capital, $23 billion that is invested in infrastructure is an official development assistance (ODA) preferential loan.

The Viet Nam Railway Corporation and other businesses will invest $10 billion into means of conveyance.

At present, Japan and South Korea take part in the project’s study and investigation. How is the co-operation between the partners?

The South Korean consultants have mapped out a feasibility study for 2 sections of Ha Noi-Vinh City and HCM City-Nha Trang. But financial funding from South Korea is impossible.

At present, the Ministry of Planning and Investment in co-ordination with the Ministry of Transport and Viet Nam Railway Corporation has been working with the Japanese partner seeking financial assistance to hire international well-qualified consultants to draw up investment reports. The project will use the Japanese Shikansen technology.

While drafting the investment reports, the corporation will use the results of research compiled by the South Korean consultants to save on expense and time.

Besides the financial difficulties are there any other obstacles for the project?

Ground clearance and compensating the people whose land will be taken are both problems.

The corporation is co-operating with local authorities and relevant offices to determine the proper measures to solve the problems.

Besides, the project requires advanced technology while Viet Nam railway technology and infrastructure is very poor and staff capacity is insufficient. These factors will undoubtedly cause obstacles to the project.

The big scale of the project will also cause difficulties for management activities.

Do these obstacles make the Japanese partner think it will be difficult to start the construction in 2009 if progress in this project preparation has not been expedited?

That’s true. The Japanese partner asked the corporation to complete the work needed in defining direction of new railway route, sections of priority, total capital, the ODA and other assistance, role of old route, dealing with ground clearance, compensation and environment impacts, and fulfil related legal documents, as soon as possible.

As an investor, how will the corporation deal with the difficulties and obstacles so as to ensure the project stays on schedule?

We are pushing to fulfil not only the investment report, but also process procedure of selecting consultants and also the calculation of the expenses for consultation required to draft the investment reports.

We also strive to realise the requirements of the Japanese partners to ensure their assistance.

The corporation asked the Japanese partners to train a skilled staff.

A special policy for the project has been set up and submitted to the Vietnamese government for approval. — VNS

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