Work likely to begin soon on most North-South Expressway sections

By Anh Minh   June 3, 2019 | 03:51 pm GMT+7
Work likely to begin soon on most North-South Expressway sections
It is estimated that the country needs about $480 billion for infrastructure investment by 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.

Construction of eight sections of the North-South Expressway is set to start next April after the government chooses investors.

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) expects that by then, 70 percent of the land acquisition will be done. 

The time taken to approve feasibility studies has been reduced by three to five months, and progress are being made as scheduled, according to the ministry.

Both local and foreign investors have expressed interest in the project. Thirty four firms – 24 Vietnamese, six Chinese, two Japanese, one French and one South Korean – have collected bidding.

South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Group last week showed its investment interest in the project at a meeting with the MoT.

The ministry will select five investors with the best profiles before narrowing down to one for each project. This process is expected to end next April.

Eleven components of the North-South Expressway are among the government’s top priorities this year. Three of them are publicly funded and the rest will be built under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Construction on two public-funded projects is set to start in July, and the third in November.

They are expected to cost VND118 trillion ($5.06 billion), with VND55 trillion ($2.36 billion) coming from the government.

Together, the 11 sections stretch 654 kilometers as part of the 2,000-kilometer expressway running from Nam Dinh near Hanoi to Vinh Long Province, southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

The expressway is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Government guarantees are among the 10 points the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) listed in a document it recently sent to relevant ministries and agencies to collect opinions for its PPP bill.

It said that the absence of guarantees related to minimum returns and foreign exchange risks have kept investors away from large projects like the Dau Giay – Phan Thiet and Tan Van-Nhon Trach road projects.

Thus, the MPI’s proposal on government guarantees, if approved, might help remove some bottlenecks in the participation of foreign investors in major transport infrastructure projects like the North-South Expressway.

Fast-growing Vietnam is facing an infrastructure bottleneck. With the state lacking the budgetary might to finance the nation’s much-needed highways, tracks and airports, the government is increasingly looking towards the private sector to fill in the financial shortfall.

It is estimated that the country needs about $480 billion for infrastructure investment by 2020, but the state budget can only meet one third of the actual financial needs.

 
 
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