HCM City’s Metro Line No 1 trial run proposed to delay again

June 10, 2024 - 15:28
According to MAUR, 98.24 per cent of the project is completed, bringing it close to the finish line but still facing some challenges.
Passengers on the HCM City's Bến Thành - Suối Tiên Metro Line No1 on June 8. VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Khu

HCM CITY — HCM City’s Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) has announced that the pilot run of HCM City’s Metro Line No 1, initially scheduled for October, may be postponed for a month.

According to MAUR, 98.24 per cent of the project, connecting Bến Thành and Suối Tiên, is complete, bringing it close to the finish line, but it still faces some challenges.

The report indicated that the project investor has been actively urging the general consultant NJPT and Japan's Hitachi, the contractor for Contract Package 3, as well as SCC, the contractor for Contract Package 2, to develop a comprehensive training plan for Metro Line No 1.

However, the general consultant has not yet completed the plan, which also includes knowledge transfer, which has contributed to project delays, Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper reported.

In the latest project schedule, Hitachi has further pushed back key milestones, such as the first test run from October to November this year, which does not comply with the Japanese Embassy's official letter to the city's leadership issued on May 2.

To address this issue, the investor has requested the Japanese Embassy to urge Hitachi to adhere to the project's target timeline and to cooperate closely with the investor to find temporary solutions that balance the interests, benefits and legal responsibilities of both parties to expedite the progress of the line.

Additionally, the investor noted that the general consultant NJPT has not implemented measures to accelerate the project's technical, commercial and contractual aspects. Thus, NJPT's role and capabilities need further enhancement.

Hitachi, the Japanese contractor, has lodged claims demanding the investor pay additional costs amounting to nearly VNĐ4 trillion (US$153.3 million). To resolve these issues, HCM City has held meetings with the involved parties.

Vice Chairman of HCM City People's Committee, Bùi Xuân Cường, agreed to expedite the establishment of a Dispute Adjudication Board (DAB) as proposed by Hitachi and the Deputy Ambassador, aiming for completion by December 2024.

The city leader requested that the investor discuss paying related costs to Hitachi to speed up personnel training for HCM City Urban Railways Company Ltd. They also agreed to maintain the original five-year maintenance contract price and use the DAB to resolve additional costs incurred during implementation.

The investor was asked to arrange bi-monthly meetings to fix any difficulties and obstacles in the project as swiftly as possible.

The Bến Thành-Suối Tiên metro line spans 19.7 km between District 1's Bến Thành Market and Thủ Đức City's Long Thành Depot, featuring three underground stations and 11 elevated stations. Work on the metro project began in 2012 and has experienced various delays, with costs rising to over VNĐ43.7 trillion ($1.71 billion). — VNS