$65 bln master plan proposed for Vietnam traffic infrastructure

By Doan Loan   April 19, 2021 | 11:11 pm PT
$65 bln master plan proposed for Vietnam traffic infrastructure
An intersection of Ha Long-Van Don Expressway in northern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Cuong.
A Transport Ministry agency has proposed spending VND1,000-1,500 trillion renovating road, rail, inland waterway, sea and air transport infrastructure from now until 2030.

For such a master plan to be carried out in the 2021-2030 period and with a vision until 2050, the Transport Department and Strategy Institute under the ministry has three different proposals.

The first proposal would cost from VND900 trillion to VND1,000 trillion ($39-43.3 billion), or 1-1.1 percent of the nation's GDP, to include work to build 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) of expressway in total; complete Long Thanh International Airport, the biggest in Vietnam once completed in Dong Nai Province that borders Ho Chi Minh City, Lach Huyen Port, a deep-water port in the northern port city of Hai Phong, and two high-speed railroad routes between Hanoi and Vinh, capital of north-central Nghe An Province, and HCMC and Nha Trang, a beach town in south-central Khanh Hoa Province.

The second proposal is considered a "breakthrough," with investment costs estimated at VND1,000-1,200 trillion ($43.3-53.13 billion), or 1.1-1.3 percent of GDP, to complete 5,000 kilometers of expressway, build the two high-speed railways, along with completing two railways sections linking with Lach Huyen Port, and with the International Container Terminal Tan Cang - Cai Mep in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province bordering HCMC.

Other work comprising the proposal includes renovating a road and railway bridge across Duong River in Hanoi, dredging waterways between Hai Phong City and Phu Tho Province that borders Hanoi to serve container ships, upgrading Cho Gao Canal linking HCMC and the Mekong Delta as well as Cai Mep.

The second proposal will also see completion of the second phase of Long Thanh airport, third terminals for HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat airport and Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport; the expansion of Dien Bien airport in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien and Con Dao airport on the eponymous island off the southern coast.

The third proposal is expected to cost the biggest sum, at VND1,400-1,500 trillion ($60.82-65.16 billion), or 1.6-1.7 percent of GDP. It would be an extension of the first proposal, with additional work including a series of railways in different parts of the country.

The ministry said the master plan is targeted at letting the traffic infrastructure system achieve a cargo transportation capacity of 4.4 billion tons per year, which will rise 6.8 percent annually, while passenger transportation reaches 10.4 billion people per year with an annual increase of 7.3 percent.

Road transportation will be the main player with a target to transport 2.76 million tons of cargo and 9.43 million passengers per year.

Commenting on the three proposals, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The requested the institute to work with related agencies to raise investments for traffic infrastructure development by 4-5 percent of GDP instead, if they want to create "breakthroughs."

"The plan should make it clear how much capital is needed in each term and what problems can be solved, along with how the economy would develop," The said.

He suggested units under the ministry consider the option to issue government bonds for traffic infrastructure development and then collect toll fees to repay the state capital.

Dang Huy Dong, former deputy minister of Planning and Investment, said for a nation with a long territory stretching north to south, Vietnam should pay more attention to developing railways to boost cargo transportation as it would help save more logistics costs compared to road transportation.

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