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Monday, June 27, 2022

High-speed railway connecting HCMC and Can Tho contributes to the West’s “makeover” 

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HCMC – It is difficult to expedite transportation growth based on public investment only, and it is also difficult to galvanize companies to join in this journey. Investment in traffic development is characterized by high capital, a long payback time, and numerous procedures.

On May 31, CT Group, with the desire to invest in traffic infrastructure, particularly the high-speed train to the Mekong Delta, gave information about this project at the Thanh Nien Newspaper Workshop “Clearing Highways – Promoting the Advantages of the Mekong Delta” organized by Thanh Nien Newspaper.

According to Mr. Tran Kim Chung, Board Chairman of CT Group, the Mekong Delta has a population comparable to the Kingdom of Belgium plus Norway and Finland. With demographic and geographic advantages, this area has a long-term and secure competitive position, but it has not fully utilized its current advantages. The Mekong Delta’s geological location is particularly unique; it is one of the most valuable deltas in the world, with favorable rainfall, excellent wind, and fertile land, but many people in the region continue to leave the nation to work abroad. The Mekong Delta’s huge potential still has much room for expansion in terms of transportation, economics, and social development. The vast potential of the Mekong Delta still promises much space for growth in terms of transportation, economics, and social infrastructure. However, the choice of how to achieve a breakthrough is limited since we do not have enough time to do it all at once, thus prioritization is required.

Dr. Tran Du Lich spoke at the conference that “the high-speed train line from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho will fuel breakthrough growth to the southwestern area, delivering a makeover for the region.”

Mr. Tran Kim Chung, who has much love for the delta, explained that over 30 years ago, CT Group possessed the largest coir net export firm in Vietnam, as well as the largest rice export company shipping products to Eastern Europe. During the period, the company’s employees traveled extensively in the Mekong Delta region. Going to the Delta was really tough at the moment since the road system was still underdeveloped. As a result, the Group has also evaluated a project to develop a high-speed railway in the region during the last two years. The Group’s partners have also made preparations, and the Group has worked with shareholders who have expertise in running successful railroads in Malaysia, as well as being the operator of the railway between Malaysia and Singapore.

The Group also submitted it to the World Bank (WB), who responded that the project would work if there could be synchronized growth between traffic and industrial and commercial zones, and commerce around that traffic axis. In line with the WB’s view, Mr. Tran Kim Chung said that this is also why the Group has a joint venture with a wide spectrum of units capable of producing modules in such an economic framework. Concerning the specifics of the project, CT Group will provide precise reports to the Government and the Ministry of Transport.

The high-speed railway project from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho will link two significant economic zones in the south. The project will require VND170 trillion, with site clearing costing VND56 trillion, and construction and installation VND85 trillion. The freight train will begin at An Binh and Di An stations (Binh Duong), whereas the passenger train will start at Tan Kien station (Binh Chanh) and end at Cai Rang station (Can Tho). The freight train distance will be 174 kilometers long, while the passenger train will travel 135 to 140 kilometers. The route passes through the provinces of Binh Duong, Ho Chi Minh City, Long An, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, and Can Tho and has 13 stations. The legal basis for railway deployment is in accordance with the Government’s Resolution 120/2017 to develop the Mekong Delta to adapt to climate change, Decision 1769/2021 approving railway network planning for the period 2021 – 2030, with a vision to 2050, and Decision 287/2022 approving the master plan for the Mekong Delta region for the period 2021 – 2030, with a vision to 2050.

Regarding the estimated development demand, by 2030, the passenger demand will be about 4.1 million, accounting for a share of around 3% of the passenger transport market; by 2050, passenger demand will be over 22 million, accounting for 8.8% of the passenger transport market. Cargo transport will grow from approximately 5 million tons of goods in 2030, accounting for 0.85% of the market, to 41 million tons of goods in 2050, accounting for 3% of the market.

According to a survey on transportation expenses, the average speed for passengers on the present route is between 60 and 80 km/h, with a price of between VND800 and VND1,000 per kilometer; for cargo, the average speed is 50 km/h, with a price of VND1,800 per kilometer. The passenger transport speed is to range from 55 to 60 km/h, with rates ranging from VND600 to VND1,000; the freight transport speed will range from 45 to 45 km/h, with charges ranging from VND400 to VND1,000 per kilometer. If the high-speed railway, with a top speed of 200 km/h, goes into service, the cost is projected to be 5-10% more than that of regular rail transit. To maximize the value of the railway, CT Group suggests developing hi-tech industrial parks, hi-tech agricultural production, trade, etc. In proximity with stations in conjunction with the planning to enhance the potential and value of the high-speed rail.

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