Chinese contractor continues to delay Hanoi metro

By Doan Loan   September 26, 2019 | 06:01 pm PT
Chinese contractor continues to delay Hanoi metro
Two trains of Hanoi's Cat Linh - Ha Dong metro line run on trial. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The Chinese contractor is yet to complete actual and administrative work to hand over Hanoi’s first metro route to the Ministry of Transport.

A representative of China Railway Sixth Group Co Ltd told reporters Wednesday that differences in administration procedures between the two countries have resulted in delays in handing over the Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line.

At the same press briefing, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said that apart from administrative work, there was still one percent of the project remaining, mainly outlook finishing, which could take a long time as it is not easily done.

He added that the Chinese contractor has not delivered cranes, trucks and other vehicles to install the remaining equipment, and has not replaced equipment damaged during delivery, such as ticket selling machines.

When asked whether the transport ministry would sue the contractor for the repeated delays, Dong said that the ministry has not considered this because part of the reason for the delays is Hanoi’s prolonged land clearance process.

The Chinese contractor received the land for construction in 2014, a few years later than scheduled, he added.

The project is being evaluated for safety by French contractor consortium Apave-Certifier-Tricc and by Vietnam Register.

Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway began in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013. But several hurdles, including loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017, stalled it for years.

The metro eventually entered the testing phase in March with all 13 cars carrying out trial runs on both lines. The ministry wanted commercial operations to begin at the end of April, but this deadline too was missed.

The State Audit Office of Vietnam said in a recent report that the transport ministry had made a series of mistakes in planning and implementing the project. The ministry had known since the beginning the project would suffer losses but prepared no plan to make up for it, state auditors said.

Morever, project costs have more than doubled from the original VND8.8 trillion ($377 million) to VND18 trillion ($771 million), they added.

When completed, Hanoi’s first metro line will run 13 kilometers from Cat Linh Station in downtown Dong Da District to Yen Nghia Station in southwest Ha Dong District.

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