|Goods are loaded at Lao Cai Railway Station in the north. Control will be tightened of goods that are transported from trucks to trains to avoid overloaded vehicles. – VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI (VNS) — The transfer of goods from trucks to trains and vice versa will be tightened to stop overloaded vehicles before they depart from railway stations as part of efforts being made by the Viet Nam Railway Corporation and the Transport Ministry to stop dangerous overloading.
Owners and drivers will have to show their vehicle registration and their load capacity bills for railway officers to cross check.
If the weight exceeds the vehicle's permitted load, officers can refuse the goods.
More staff will also be employed to monitor the loading of goods from trains to trucks to prevent overloaded vehicles from departing railway stations.
Since the Transport Ministry's decision to tighten control over overloaded vehicles took effect in April, the Railway Corporation has checked 332 railroad cars and detected 13 infringements.
Director General of the Viet Nam Railway Corporation Nguyen Dat Tuong said that road transport costs had increased because of the April ruling, making firms look more to railway freight.
"It is an opportunity for the railway sector to develop," he said.
"But the railway sector still faces a major challenge from outdated infrastructure including single tracks and narrow-gauge lines with a width of just one metre," he said.
It takes 30-40 hours for passenger trains to go from the north to the south of the country but it takes longer for freight trains because they have to stop at many stations and priority is given to passenger trains.
Tuong also said that seaports were not connected to railway lines, so many goods transported by sea were transported by road, pushing up costs.
He added that although railway transportation was cheaper than other means of freight, the cost for loading and unloading goods was high.
"As a result, the cost by rail is higher than by road," he said.
As quoted in Giao thong Van tai (Transport) newpaper, lecturer Tran Huu Minh from the University of Transport said that out of nearly 700 million tonnes of freight transported by land each year, only 6-10 million tonnes were carried by train and the rest went by road.
He said that to improve the capacity of the railway sector, restructuring was necessary to reduce transportation times and loading costs, and improve links between roads, railways and waterways.
In May, Transport Minister Dinh La Thang approved a plan to strengthen these links, and improve the capacity and effectiveness of railway transportation to reduce pressure on roads. In Viet Nam, about 70 per cent of goods are transported by road. — VNS