Second phase of Saigon metro line open to public-private investment

By Gia Minh   February 27, 2021 | 05:00 pm PT
Second phase of Saigon metro line open to public-private investment
A train meant for the Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien Metro Line in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR).
The second phase of Ho Chi Minh City’s fifth metro line, spanning 14.5 kilometers, might be invested via public-private partnership (PPP) instead of ODA.

The HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the main project investor, on Saturday stated the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim Bank) has proposed to look into investing in the project's second phase through PPP. The bank would provide the capital to update the project's pre-feasibility study after switching the investment method from official development assistance (ODA) to PPP.

The pre-feasibility study for the second phase of HCMC's fifth metro line was previously sponsored by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). But the ODA investment method could not proceed, so the PPP option was considered instead to allow the private sector to invest in the project. The total investment capital for the phase is around $2.1 billion, with two South Korean investors having expressed interest in funding the initiative.

As planned, HCMC's fifth metro line would span 24 kilometers, running from the new Can Giuoc Station in District 8 to Saigon Bridge. The pre-feasibility study for the first phase, spanning 8.9 kilometers, is being evaluated so it could be presented to the National Assembly for investment approval. It would cost around $1.9 billion, and the fund would be derived from ODA provided by Asian Development Bank, KfW Development Bank, European Investment Bank and the Spanish government.

Eight metro lines are being planned for HCMC, with a combined length of 220 kilometers and a combined cost of around $25 billion. Its first metro line (from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien) and its second (from Ben Thanh to Tham Luong) are being invested through ODA and preferential loans.

The first metro line, spanning 20 kilometers, is about 82 percent complete and is expected to enter commercial operation in 2022. The second metro line is undergoing procedures so construction could start within this year.

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