Jul 09, 2019 / 23:57

New national express railway option can save Vietnam US$32 billion

The Hanoitimes - Experts said that railway with a design speed of 350 km/h and a total investment of US$58.71 billion implies numerous risks, adversely affecting the allocation of funds for the development purposes.

Vietnam’s first express railway running from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City may cost around US$58.7 billion, according to a pre-feasibility report announced by the Ministry of Transport (MoT). However, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has said that the railway can be built with a total investment of about US$26 billion, US$32 billion less than the estimate by the MoT, local media reported.

The figure was given in the report on the implementation of the North-South express railway project that the Ministry of Planning and Investment has submitted to the Vietnamese government.
 
Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo
The report, signed by Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, said that based on research and experience in the world, the investment construction cost of railway with speed of up to 200 km/h is 10% lower than investment cost for 350 km/h railway. Investment costs of equipment and facilities vary from 9% - 26%.

"Experts said that railway with a design speed of 350 km/h and a total investment of US$58.71 billion implies numerous risks, adversely affecting the allocation of funds for the development purposes,” the MPI report stressed.

The MPI added that the speed factor is a key issue of express railway and the maximum speed of 200 km/h is optimum as it has been shown in other countries. According to Germany’s assessment data, with the railway speed of 200 km/h in the North – South axis, the total investment of the project will be about US$26 billion.

Therefore, the Ministry of Planning and Investment proposed the government consider setting up a State Appraisal Council to assess the pre-feasibility report of the project. 

The council can hire consulting firms to ensure independence in verifying the pre-feasibility report of the project.

"Research results of the MoT and the MPI are related to the
project's scale and total investment. The MoT will continue to give explanation during the State Appraisal Council's appraisal process before submitting to the National Assembly for approval," the MoT affirmed in a statement release late Tuesday.

In July 2018, the MoT summited a report to the Vietnamese government on the high-speed train project’s progress. Specifically, the pre-feasibility study was scheduled to be completed in the end of November 2018. Once receiving the National Assembly’s approval, relevant sides will carry out the feasibility study, technical designs and site clearance during 2020-2025. Construction will begin in 2026 and be completed by 2050.