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CONSTRUCTION OF VAN DON-MONG CAI HIGHWAY SET TO START THIS MONTH
Thursday, 14 March 2019 03:38

The northern province of Quang Ninh is set on beginning construction of the Van Don-Mong Cai highway in the first quarter of this year. 


About 97 percent of the land clearance work has been completed, with the remaining 3 percent mostly in Mong Cai city, where local households are refusing to hand over their land. 
According to Vu Van Kinh, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Mong Cai city, the locality is taking steps to complete the clearance work.

The Van Don-Mong Cai highway will be constructed under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) and public-private partnership (PPP) contract at total cost of more than 11 trillion VND (474.4 million USD).

Quang Ninh People’s Committee has signed the contract with the joint venture of Long Van Infrastructure Investment and Development Co.,Ltd, Van Don Sun JSC and Cong Thanh Transportation and Construction Corporation.

The 80.2km-long highway will have four lanes and will run through the districts of Van Don, Tien Yen, Dam Ha and Hai Ha and Mong Cai city.

Construction is expected to be completed within 22 months. Fees will be collected for 20 years on the road.

Once the road is completed, it will connect with the Hai Phong-Ha Long and Ha Long-Van Don highways, creating the longest highway in Vietnam that runs from Lao Cai in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai to Mong Cai via Hanoi and Hai Phong. The highway will serve as an important transport gateway linking Vietnam and China and countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), helping boost cross-border trade and turn Quang Ninh into a trade and service hub.   

The Van Don-Mong Cai highway is also expected to facilitate access to Van Don international airport, which is slated to open in late December.  

To accelerate the project’s progress, Quang Ninh has made land clearance a sub-project, used the local budget to implement the work and assigned Van Don, Tien Yen, Dam Ha and Hai Ha districts and Mong Cai city to be investors of the sub-project. 

The province has also set up two working groups to remove difficulties facing the project and help the main investor implement legal procedures. 

The Ha Long-Hai Phong Expressway was put into service in September 2018, while the Ha Long-Van Don Expressway became operational in December the same year.-VNA

 
HIGH-SPEED RAILWAY PLAN PRESENTED TO PM
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 07:00

The Ministry of Transport has sent to the prime minister the prefeasibility study for the north-south high-speed railway project, which requires an estimated investment of US$58.71 billion.

According to the report signed by Minister Nguyen Van The, the railway, connecting Hanoi and HCMC, will run through 20 localities, covering 1,559 kilometers.

The 14-kilometer section in Hanoi will share the rails of the city’s urban railway line No. 1 (Hanoi station-Ngoc Hoi station), while along the 1,545-kilometer north-south track from Ngoc Hoi station to Thu Thiem station in HCMC are 24 stations, five depots, 42 maintenance centers, as well as three potential stations.

The north-south railway is designed to accommodate trains running at 320 kilometers per hour and will serve passenger trains.

The project’s first phase will require VND561.6 trillion (US$24.71 billion) in funding, and the estimated investment for phase two is some VND772.6 trillion (US$34 billion).

According to the ministry’s report, this is an important project for the country, and given its huge scale, the project needs approval of the National Assembly.

As planned, phase one, 2020-2032, will involve studying and building railways from Hanoi to Vinh and from Nha Trang to HCMC. Meanwhile, the section from Vinh to Nha Trang will be constructed in phase two, 2032-2050, with the Vinh-Danang railway scheduled for completion in 2040 and Danang-Nha Trang in 2050.

Regarding funding, it is proposed that State funds will make up some 80% and private sources 20%.

The report also mentions impact assessments for the economy and public debt.

With the possibility of using only local funding, the annual investment value will account for, at most, 0.7% of the gross domestic product in phase one and 0.55% in phase two. If the whole project uses loans, it will not push the public debt past the 65% ceiling.

The selection of technologies for the project will ensure consistency and convenience for future receptions and transfers.

At a speed of 320 kilometers per hour, rail travel between Hanoi and HCMC will take five hours 20 minutes, excluding stopovers at certain stations, and six hours 55 minutes if stopovers at all stations are included.

A State firm will be responsible for managing the railway infrastructure, and transport firms will be in charge of operating the railway.

For the project to gain the approval of the National Assembly at its next sitting late this year, the ministry has proposed the prime minister consider the early establishment of an evaluation council.

 
FIERCE COMPETITION IN SHIPPING INDUSTRY PREDICTED FOR 2019
Thursday, 07 March 2019 07:04

Total goods exchange output will increase rapidly, bringing opportunities to Vietnam’s shipping firms, experts said at a seminar on container maritime transport, held on the occasion of the launch of a book on maritime transport in Vietnam by leading expert Lars Jensen.

Vu Dang Duong, chief of the team of translators of the book, said the difficulties faced by big and small shipping firms kicked off an M&A movement. The decision by shipping lines to consolidate alliances was a way for them to cope with uncertainties in the near future.

More M&A deals will be made in the time to come, but the M&A wave is entering the final stage and there will not be big deals. Shipping lines will intensify the use of high technology to cut costs and the labor force.

Jensen believes that marine transport will see big changes in the way it is operating.

Dung said the changes will affect Vietnam’s shipping industry and container port exploiters in key economic zones, as well as over 3,000 logistics firms.

Nguyen Xuan Vinh, CEO of Maritime Connections, believes that in 2019 and upcoming years, marine container transport will continue to develop, creating cutthroat competition among large shipping firms in the world.

Shipping firms will have to build large ships to be able to carry more goods, which will help cut costs.

Analysts think the US-China trade war will benefit enterprises which export products from Vietnam to the US. Foreign direct investment into China will be redirected to Vietnam and neighboring countries.

If so, Vietnam will need to import more materials to make products for export and the demand for container maritime transport will increase.

The attendees at the seminar expressed concern about problems in Vietnam’s shipping, saying that the lack of cooperation among shipping firms still had not improved.

Cooperation agreements between Hai An Group and Tan Cang Shipping, and between Vinalines and Bien Dong, have been made. However, the link among Vietnamese firms is loose compared with M&A activities among Japanese, South Korean and Chinese firms.

While some experts warned of problems to arise if Vietnamese shipping firms cooperate with foreign partners, Duong believes that it should be encouraged.

He cited success stories about the cooperation between Vietnamese and foreign enterprises. Tan Cang Cai Mep international port was one example.

The Vietnam Logistics Association (VLA) says that logistics costs in Vietnam are 16-17 percent of GDP, while some international institutions say the figure is 20.9 percent.

 
NEW MECHANISMS TO KEEP MARITIME TRANSPORT SECTOR AFLOAT
Monday, 04 March 2019 07:07

Although there have been some positive signs in recent years, Viet Nam’s sea transport sector still face difficulties with many enterprises suffering heavy losses. The maritime industry is proposing support mechanisms to help the sector out of its stagnant state.

In 2018, Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) recorded strong growth in sea transport volume with an increase of more than 13 per cent, reaching 24.3 million tonnes. This figure shows solid growth from when sea transport hit its floor a few years ago.

However, acting general director of Vinalines Nguyen Canh Tinh said the sector still faced challenges because, due to shipping supply surpluses, freight rates were only one-tenth of what they were in 2008.

The Philippines and Malaysia, traditional destinations for Vietnamese shipping fleets, have low profit margins. For routes with higher margins such as the Republic of Korea, Japan and North China, many Vietnamese ships did not meet the strict requirements to enter the ports, Tinh said. This made it difficult to access these higher-value markets.

Vu Duc Ngo, director of Vu Gia Tam Trading and Transport Co., Ltd, said that since 2009, shipping activities suffered heavy losses.

Unreasonable structure

According to Trinh The Cuong, head of Shipping and Maritime Services under the Viet Nam Maritime Administration (VMA), the total volume of transport carried out by Viet Nam’s fleets in 2018 was more than 144 million tonnes, an increase of nearly 11 per cent year-on-year, accounting for 55.6 per cent of the total turnover of all modes of transport.

However, Cuong said the structure of Viet Nam’s shipping fleet was not reasonable. While general cargo ships and bulk cargo ships accounted for more than 70 per cent of the total tonnage, container ships only accounted for 3.6 per cent (41 ships).

In order to support shipping enterprises, VMA is asking the Ministry of Transport to propose the Government develop supporting policies and exempt shipping companies with large and modern fleets from taxes.

VMA will build commodity and transport trading floors to make use of cargo ships on domestic routes.

The Ministry of Transport will also propose to the Government a number of policies to facilitate shipping enterprises in the country. These include lending shipping enterprises investment capital, upgrading fleets from development investment funds, exempting import taxes for supplies and equipment to repair ships that Viet Nam has not yet produced, reducing corporate income taxes and import taxes on ships and eliminating personal income tax on salaries of officers and crew members working on seagoing vessels in inland transport.

 
OVER US$3 BILLION PROPOSED FOR BUILDING DANANG URBAN RAILWAY NETWORK
Friday, 01 March 2019 02:00

South Korea's Seoul Metro Corporation on February 21 proposed spending over US$3 billion on construction of an urban railway system in Danang, including metro and tramway lines, during a meeting with the Danang City municipal government, Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

Under the tentative plan prepared by the corporation, the proposed railways are expected to cover the central area of the city, linking beaches, the airport and main roads. The railway network is aimed at meeting transport demands in two North-South and East-West directions.

The projected South-North tramway line, to stretch 8.38 kilometers, will require an estimated investment capital of US$173 million, linking the eastern bank of the Han River and Ngu Hanh Son (Marble Mountains), while the 8.82 kilometer South-North tramway line will also receive funding of US$173 million, stretching from the western bank of the Han River to the south wing of the airport and the northern region of the sea.

The East-West metro line, with an expected cost of  US$2.3 billion, will run from the center of Thanh Khe District and Hai Chau District to East Sea Park.

Also, the firm proposed prioritizing construction of the East-West tramway line, which will run for 8.24 kilometers and connect My Khe Beach with the airport, and the 13.4-kilometer South-North tramway line along My Khe Beach, linking with the southeastern region of the city.

The two lines will require an estimated US$209 million and US$245 million, respectively.

Speaking at the meeting, vice chairman of Danang City Dang Viet Dung approved the plan in principle, and asked the municipal Department of Transport and relevant agencies to support the South Korean firm’s proposal.

 
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