Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong railway could increase public debt
VietNamNet Bridge - Experts have concerns about the fate of the Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong railway if the Hai Phong Port becomes overloaded.


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The railway, once established, will connect China with Hanoi and Hai Phong Port. It is expected to go through eight provinces of Vietnam with a total length of 392 kilometers, including Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Vinh Phuc, Hanoi, Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Hai Phong.

Le Duy Hiep, chair of the Vietnam Logistics Association, said: “I hope once the railway is put into operation, it will undertake 50 percent of goods from northwestern provinces to Hai Phong Port, from which the goods will reach the world.”

According to Hiep, there are two expressways that connect Lao Cai and Hai Phong, including the Lao Cai – Hanoi and Hanoi-Hai Phong. However, it is time-consuming and costly to use the roadways.

The volume of goods to be transported from Lao Cai, Vinh Phuc and Yen Bai to Hai Phong is not big. At present, the two Lao Cai-Hanoi and Hanoi-Hai Phong highways can satisfy transportation demand.

“The risks in traveling by road are always higher than by rail. The percentage of traffic jam and accidents is also lower. It would be safer and more economical to carry goods by rail,” he explained.

However, Vietnam’s railway quality is very low, and there is no railway specifically serving cargo transportation. 

Hiep thinks that the Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong railway should be reserved for cargo transportation, while passenger transportation will be undertaken by the north-south expressway.

Meanwhile, an expert disagrees with Hiep, saying he doubts the economic efficiency of the project.

“The volume of goods to be transported from Lao Cai, Vinh Phuc and Yen Bai to Hai Phong is not big. At present, the two Lao Cai-Hanoi and Hanoi-Hai Phong highways can satisfy transportation demand,” he explained, adding that only 30 percent of the road transport capacity has been used.

The expert stressed that it is necessary to think carefully about the cost of the project in the context of the increase in public debt.

The Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong railway will only be fully exploited if it connects Hai Phong Port. The port is operating at full capacity and will be overloaded in the near future.

“What will happen if the goods to be carried by the railway get stuck at the port when it gets overloaded?” he said.

Bui Xuan Phong, chair of the Vietnam Economics and Railway Transport Association, also thinks that it would be better to gather strength on key projects rather than develop many projects which will cost a lot of money.


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Mai Lan

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