Japan shows interest in Vietnam’s US$70 bln North-South express railway
  • | VOV | June 12, 2024 08:31 AM
Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Ito Naoki during his recent meeting with the leadership of the Ministry of Transport (MoT) in Hanoi said Japan shows its keen interest in Vietnam’s North-South express railway project worth approximately US$70 billion.

Transport Minister Nguyen Van Thang and Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Ito Naoki during their meeting in Hanoi on June 10. (Photo: MoT)

At the meeting on June 10, MoT Nguyen Van Thang thanked Japan for having provided preferential loans to Vietnam to undertake infrastructure construction projects over the years, noting Japan is always the leading ODA donor to Vietnam, having granted up to US$15 billion to 52 ODA projects in the country.

Transportation infrastructure projects funded by Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are all large sized, actively contributing to promoting socio-economic development and giving the local transportation system a facelift, said Thang.

Naoki for his part said Japan is keen to increase cooperation with Vietnam in the field of infrastructure development, especially transportation infrastructure.

Japan is willing to share experiences and support Vietnam in developing transportation infrastructure projects, including new ones such as the North - South express railway, Ho Chi Minh - Long Thanh - Dau Giay expressway, and Lien Chieu port, said the ambassador.

He asked the Vietnamese side to provide detailed information about the North - South express railway project so that the Japanese side would consider the possibility of cooperation.

In response, Thang said that the project is being submitted to competent authorities for consideration, and after approval, relevant information will be provided to the Japanese side to examine the possibility of cooperation.

In his opinions, currently Vietnam has met the conditions to develop high-speed railways. Accordingly, the country’s GDP is now 4 times higher than in 2010; its financial potential has increased significantly; and its public debt equals to about 37% of GDP.

In the immediate future, the minister asked the Japanese side to consider providing scholarships for short-term and long-term training courses on railway engineering, especially high-speed railway, in Japan for Vietnamese engineers.

This is not the first time Japan has made Vietnam an offer to develop the North-South express railway project.

During a working trip to Japan in March 2024, Vietnamese Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc met with his Japanese counterpart Shunichi Suzuki who expressed Japan’s readiness to engage in the project, as well as other infrastructure projects to be undertaken in future.

Meeting the Japanese Minister in Hanoi in January 2024, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh proposed that the Government of Japan support Vietnam in building the North-South high-speed railway.

In response, Suzuki affirmed that the Japanese side will study and coordinate with Vietnam to soon come up with a feasible solution.

Flagship project

Vietnam's high-speed railway will take shape in future. (Illustrative image using AI ChatGPT app)

The North–South express railway is a proposed high-speed railway in Vietnam running through 20 cities and provinces across the country. The line would begin in Lang Son province in the north and end in Ca Mau province in the south, connecting the two most urbanised areas in the country – Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Ministry of Transport has so far suggested three options to the Government with regard to developing the North-South high-speed railway route.

The first option will see Vietnam build a double-track railway with a track gauge of 1,435m at a total length of 1,545km for only passenger trains that are designed to run at a maximum speed of 350 km/h. The existing railway route that has a track gauge of 1,000m will be upgraded to transport goods. Total investment capital would be about US$67.32 billion.

In the second option, the country will construct a new double-track railway with a track gauge of 1,435m for both passenger and freight trains to run at a maximum speed of 250 km/h. The existing North-South railway line will be modernized to transport goods, tourists and passengers for short distances. Total investment capital would be about US$72.02 billion.

The third option will see Vietnam build a new double-track railway with a track gauge of 1,435m for passenger trains to run at a maximum speed of 350km/h, and for freight trains if necessary. At the same time the existing North - South railway line will be upgraded for goods transportation. Total investment capital would be about US$68.98 billion (without freight trains) and US$71.69 billion (with freight trains).

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