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Monday, June 24, 2024

Chinese contractor demands US$50m for system operation of Cat Linh-Ha Dong project

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HCMC – While the completion date of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway project in Hanoi is not yet known and the inspection dossiers have not been completed, Chinese contractor China Railway 6 Bureau Group has requested US$50 million for the system operation before handing over the project.

The Railway Project Management Unit has reported the issue to the Ministry of Transport, noting that the payment must comply with the regulations of the engineering procurement and construction contract, according to Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper.

“The two sides have agreed to review the provisions of the contract within 15 days and organize a meeting to discuss the works that need to be completed,” the unit noted.

The 13.05-kilometer Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway was designed to have 12 stations and one depot.

The funding needed for the railway project has surged from the initial estimate of VND8.7 trillion in 2008 to a staggering VND18 trillion including VND13.9 trillion borrowed from the Chinese Government and VND4.1 trillion in reciprocal capital.

Work on the project began in October 2011, and the railway was initially scheduled to be put into commercial operation in 2015.

The railway is basically complete but is yet to be put into operation due to problems related to technical equipment at the depot, the safety assessment of trains, system operation activities and final settlement of the contract and payment.

In February, over 100 Chinese experts failed to return to Vietnam amid fears of the coronavirus pandemic, delaying the trial operation of the railway. However, on April 24, the Government agreed to allow entry to experts working on the project.

The Railway Project Management Unit has asked the Chinese contractor to complete the as-built documents and inspection dossiers for components such as the technical equipment, design of stations and depot.

Regarding the system safety certification, the unit will work with ACT Consulting and the Chinese contractor to complete it in line with the laws in Vietnam.

According to the Government, the completion date for the project has not yet been decided and the responsibilities of organizations and individuals for the slow progress have not been made clear; so, capital has not been allocated for the construction supervision package.

To address these obstacles, the Railway Project Management Unit suggested that the Ministry of Transport report the problems to the Government for solutions, extend the construction supervision package, and organize meetings with the Chinese contractor to discuss capital demand for the trial operation of the railway.

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