Multiple railway projects are seeing slow progress due to several issues, including lack of capital, approval processes and contract difficulties.
Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said at a meeting this week progress on Vietnam’s railway projects are slower than they are supposed to be.
The country plans to have seven national railways renovated and upgraded by 2015.
However, so far, work has only been done on only critical points on two lines, from Hanoi to HCMC and from Hanoi to the northern highlands province of Lao Cai, home to Sa Pa.
Major transport bottlenecks along the north-south railway have not been cleared yet, such as the Hai Van Pass area in central Vietnam.
Feports on the feasibility for high-speed railways along the north-south axis have still not been presented before the National Assembly for their investment to be approved yet.
Important railway projects like the southern Bien Hoa-Vung Tau line, between the industrial province of Dong Nai and beach town Vung Tau, are still on paper.
It would take over VND15.46 trillion ($640.8 million) for the development of railway infrastructure in the 2021-2025 period, the government said. However, this year, the capital reserved to the Ministry of Transport for railway infrastructure development is only at over VND1.83 trillion. The national budget portion reserved for the maintenance of railway infrastructure is at VND3 trillion, which is only around 40% of what is required.
Regarding urban metro lines, six need to be deployed in Hanoi and HCMC. Besides the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line that has been operating since November 2021, other lines are either under construction or still on paper, even though the projects have been started 5-10 years prior.
In Hanoi, the Nhon-Hanoi Station metro project, with a total investment cost of €1.176 million ($1.14 million), is now 75% complete. Hanoi is currently requesting the government to approve an extension for the project to be completed in 2027, and to increase the amount of investment from VND32.91 trillion to over VND34.82 trillion.
In HCMC, the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line which was approved in 2007 is 92% complete. Several delays have raised its total investment to over VND43.75 trillion. HCMC government estimated that the construction could be completed by the end of 2023.
The city’s second metro line, Ben Thanh-Tham Luong, was approved in 2010 but work has not been started yet.
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