|A container ship docked at Cái Mép-Thị Vải deep-water port in Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh|
Nguyễn Văn Thọ, chairman of Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Province People’s Committee, speaks about the importance of promoting transport infrastructure connections in the Southeast region at a seminar held last week in Vũng Tàu.
What do you think about the importance of traffic infrastructure connections in the Southeast region?
The Southeast region, which accounts for 40 per cent of the country’s total budget revenue and 38 per cent GDP, is the focal economic region in Việt Nam. It includes HCM City and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Bình Dương, Bình Phước, Đồng Nai, and Tây Ninh provinces.
However, the region’s transport structure is far below the needs of its economic and social growth potential.
There are only two expressways in the region: the HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây and HCM City-Trung Lương.
Road transport plays a key role in the region, serving about 80 per cent of all freight transport from the provinces in the region to HCM City, causing serious congestion on HCM City-Trung Lương Expressway and National Road 51.
The National Road 22 from HCM City to Tây Ninh Province has also become congested with the number of vehicles increasing by 8 per cent annually.
The Cái Mép – Thị Vải deep-water port in Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu is the international gateway to the region. The port is one of more than 20 ports in the world that can be accessed by container ships of over 200,000 tonnes.
When the first phase of Long Thành international airport in Đồng Nai Province comes into operation slated for 2025, a new hub of the aviation industry will be formed in the region.
The existing technical and social infrastructure in the region has failed to meet socio-economic development needs. Therefore, I strongly believe that it’s high time to invest in traffic infrastructure to enhance the connections between the port and the international airport and industrial parks in the region to boost the region’s socio-economic development.
Could you name the major projects that need investment to enhance inter-regional connections in the region?
Two of the most important projects include the Biên Hòa - Vũng Tàu Expressway and Phước An Bridge, which are expected to improve connectivity between the southern key economic region and the province’s Cái Mép – Thị Vải deep-water port.
The 4.3km Phước An Bridge is a key project connecting the Cái Mép - Thị Vải port with the North-South Expressway and southern inter-regional highways. It will also connect the Cái Mép-Thị Vải Port with the Bến Lức - Long Thành Expressway.
The bridge will be built in Phú Mỹ Town in the province and Nhơn Trạch District in Đồng Nai Province. It is expected to cost VNĐ4.879 trillion. The province has asked the Government for 50 per cent of the cost over the next five years.
The Biên Hòa - Vũng Tàu expressway is expected to ease congestion on National Highway 51 and facilitate travel between Đồng Nai and Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu provinces and HCM City and the southern key economic zone.
The expressway, connecting Biên Hòa City in Đồng Nai and Bà Rịa City in Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, is set to open to traffic by 2025.
Other major projects that need investment include the HCM City Ring Road 4 and the Biên Hòa - Vũng Tàu railway.
Those projects play an extremely important role in the development of the whole southern key economic region.
What does Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu plan to do to mobilise capital for the projects?
Provinces in the region, including Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, are seeking capital for implementation of national key projects in the province.
I think the provinces definitely need guidance and support from the central government to speed up the progress. As the Government’s finances are limited, looking for other sources of capital is a must.
For Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, particularly the Phước An bridge project, we aim to complete the construction by 2025.
The bridge is expected to cost VNĐ4.879 trillion ($210.11 million).
The province has asked the Government for 50 per cent of the cost over the next five years with the rest to be funded by the province’s budget revenue.
For the Biên Hòa - Vũng Tàu expressway project, the province is studying to apply the public-private partnership (PPP) model, combining state capital for site clearance and private sector investment.
The province has asked the PM to approve the pre-feasibility study for the first phase of the project, which will be implemented under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) investment model.
The project requires an estimated investment of VNĐ23.075 trillion ($995.52 million).
For the 200km long HCM City Ring Road 4 Expressway, the Ministry of Transport is now studying to invest in the 35km long Bến Lức – Hiệp Phước section of the expressway with a cost of VNĐ19.5 trillion. — VNS