US, Japan keen to invest in Vietnam infrastructure

By Huong Thuy   September 26, 2018 | 08:22 pm PT
US, Japan keen to invest in Vietnam infrastructure
Layout plan for Long Thanh terminal. Photo by the Airports Corporation of Vietnam
Vietnam’s plans for building and expanding airports and seaports have attracted the interest of companies in the U.S. and Japan.

Joel Szabat, deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation and International Affairs, said his country wants to strengthen ties with Vietnam in the transport infrastructure area, especially airports and seaports.

He told Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho at a meeting Tuesday that his department would facilitate U.S. investment in Vietnam’s infrastructure projects in the form of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

But Vietnam needs to have more policy consistency and open policies, Szabat said.

Last month Japan's Secretary of State Tsukasa Akimoto told Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong that many Japanese investors are eyeing key transport projects in Vietnam.

They are interested in the Long Thanh International Airport and high-speed north-south railway, he said.

At the meeting with Szabat, Tho said Vietnam is focusing on five areas of transport infrastructure: roads, aviation, waterways, railways, and network connections to boost logistics.

One of its national infrastructure projects is the north-south expressway measuring over 2,100km in length, of which “650km will be built in 2017-2020 under the PPP model,” he said.

With the country’s railway network being obsolete, there is need for an upgrade to both its long-distance and inner-city railways, he noted.

“Our ministry is considering feasibility studies for the north-south high-speed railway.”

The transport ministry is set to report on the high-speed railway to the National Assembly next year.

It is now consulting various agencies for a feasibility study for the Long Thanh airport in the southern Dong Nai Province, which is expected to be approved by the government at the end of next year.

Vietnam has 21 airports, eight of which receive international flights. Given the rapid rise in traffic, it plans to build, expand or upgrade several including Noi Bai in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat in HCMC.

The ministry this month approved changes to the upgrade plans for Tan Son Nhat Airport, including the addition of a third terminal and a 250-hectare expansion of the airport.

French consulting firm ADPis proposal includes building a new terminal in the south (yellow) and supporting structures north of the airport (blue). Graph by VnExpress

French consulting firm ADPi's proposal on Tan Son Nhat expansion includes building a new terminal in the south (yellow) and supporting structures north of the airport (blue). Graph by VnExpress

When the work is complete, the airport’s size will increase from the current 545 hectares (1,350 acres) to 791 ha.

Besides building a new terminal, T3, to the south with a capacity of 20 million passengers a year, the ministry also seeks to expand the two existing terminals to increase their capacity to 30 million passengers a year.

The airport currently handles 36 million passengers a year against a designed capacity of only 25 million.

Tho said Vietnam has two major ports, Lach Huyen in the north and Cai Mep-Thi Vai in the south, which can accommodate ships of up to 100,000 DWT.

“However, network connections for logistics in ports remain underdeveloped.”

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