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Vietnam builds north-south highway, but not a railway

Last update: 08:00 | 12/11/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - The north-south transportation route is expected to be overloaded by 2020 with 45.3 million passengers and 62.2 million tons of cargo per annum. Building a north-south highway is the solution Vietnam has chosen.


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It is estimated that if Vietnam doesn’t build a high-speed railway, the total capacity of all types of transport on the north-south route would be 39.4 million passenger per annum.

Of this, air transport capacity is estimated at 17.7 million passengers. Meanwhile, the railway, if upgraded, would be able to serve 2.2 million passengers. Highway No 1 and Ho Chi Minh Road would serve 19.3 million passengers.

As such, the number of passengers would exceed the capacity by 5.9 million. 

Therefore, Vietnam needs to think of building either a north-south highway or north-south high-speed railway to satisfy the increased demand, according to the experts.

Head of the Vietnam Economics Institute Tran Dinh Thien said it is necessary to combine different means of transport – air, road and highway – to satisfy demand and optimize benefits. 

He suggested building a high-speed railway linking Hanoi and Vinh City, believing that the railway could be a better choice. 

If Vietnam builds a railway, it would depend on foreign financing and work of up to 90 percent because Vietnam still does not have enough capability in terms of technology, materials and operation capability. 

“People from Hanoi would be able to travel to Vinh City within a day,” he said.

According to Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat, the distance of 300-400 kilometers is the minimal distance to build a railway. 

The government has assigned the ministry to consider the possibility of building Hanoi-Vinh and HCMC-Nha Trang railways.

However, he said if Vietnam builds a railway, it would depend on foreign financing and work of up to 90 percent because Vietnam still does not have enough capability in terms of technology, materials and operation capability. 

However, if developing a road, Vietnam would be able to master nearly all links of the process. 

Nhat warned that it would be very costly to create a high-speed railway, about $15 billion, much higher than the estimates of $2.5 billion for highways.

Pham Huu Son, CEO of TEDI, a transport consultancy firm, said that $15 billion is only the required investment capital to build the Hanoi-Vinh railway. 

Meanwhile, it is also necessary to consider demand and service fee and clarify if the service fee is affordable for the majority of people.

Therefore, Son believes that building roads are a reasonable plan for the immediate time in terms of both investment rate and construction technology. 

However, he warned that in the future, Vietnam would have to think of building high-speed railways when the road is overloaded.

Nhat said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) will submit to the government a plan to build Hanoi-Vinh and HCMC-Nha Trang high-speed railway by 2019-2020, stressing that highway will be overloaded after 2030.


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Kim Chi 

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