Railway upgrade aims to win back passengers

June 19, 2017 - 09:00

Chairman of the Việt Nam Railways Corporation Vũ Anh Minh tells Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper about private investment potential in improving railway services.

Vũ Anh Minh
Viet Nam News




Việt Nam Railways Corporation Chairman Vũ Anh Minh tells Tuổi trẻ (Youth) that the sector plans to facilitate private investment towards improving its products and services.

What will the railway sector do to get passengers it has lost to road or air transportation because the railway infrastructure and services failed to meet their demands?

In 2017, we have six newly-built trains into operation. Each train is equipped with modern facilities to serve both economic and business class passengers.

We are planning to apply different ticket-sales models, allow reservations months in advance and offer discounted tickets.

In particular, we will provide free two-way transport for passengers from the railway station to destinations like the Cửa Lò beach in Nghệ An Province and Sa Pa in Lào Cai Province.

But it is said that the current infrastructure does not allow for trains to increase their speed or for the sector to increase passenger and cargo transportation capacities. How would you respond?

We have reported this to the Transport Ministry and the Prime Minister, asking for an investment of VNĐ7 trillion (US$311 million) through mid-term Government bonds to improve railway infrastructure.

We plan to upgrade railway bridges and replace old tracks and sleepers to improve our passenger and cargo transportation capacity.

The number of coaches in train will increase to 25 from current 17-19, to maximise capacity.

The main target is to improve the capacity to exploit the sector’s advantages, not to increase train speed. It will take thousands of billions of đồng to cut travel time on a particular route by 10 per cent.

Some businesses have said they are hesitant to transport their cargo by trains because the loading and transporting of goods to train stations takes more time and costs more.   

In April we signed a comprehensive co-operation agreement with the Saigon New Port Corporation to build two new dry ports or Inland Container Depots (ICD) at Sóng Thần Station in southern Bình Dương Province and the Đông Anh station in Hà Nội.

The two ports will have modern equipment and facilities to load and unload cargo and us IT applications to strictly manage commodities. This will help shorten time and costs for businesses.

Dry ports capable of accommodating and clearing large volumes of cargo quickly will clear cargo help attract more businesses to transport cargo by railway.

We will also invest in boxcars specilising in transporting containers and replace 30-40 aged engines with new ones to reduce fuel costs, thus helping reduce transportation fees.   

A number of investors have expressed interest in importing trains and running them here. Does the sector have plans to open investment to multiple sectors?

The railway sector is encouraging competition in investment towards improving service quality.

We do encourage investors to import foreign-made trains to run in Việt Nam. We can hire these trains or they can hire our infrastructure to run them. This will foster competition in the sector, and this is good for passengers.

We are particularly calling for investment into railway routes linking industrial zones and seaports.

Most countries in the world spend State budget funds for railway infrastructure on national routes, while those running to industrial zones can be invested in by other sectors. - VNS