China Communications looks to invest in Vietnam’s $60bn railway

Nguyen Chi Dung sitting next to Bai Yinzhan in Beijing last week (photo courtesy of Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning)
China Communications (CCCC) has offered to invest in several infrastructure projects in Vietnam, including the country’s high-speed North-South Railway, news website VNExpress reports.

The proposal was made by Bai Yinzhan, director of CCCC subsidiary China Harbour Engineering, during a meeting with Nguyen Chi Dung, Vietnam’s planning minister, held at last week’s Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

The North-South Railway is a project tentatively scheduled to begin in 2028. It would run for more than 1,500km between Ngoc Hoi station in Hanoi and Thu Thiem in Ho Chi Minh City. Trains would have an operating speed of 320km/h (see further reading).

It is thought that the entire project will require something like $60bn to carry out, however the Vietnamese government has identified it as crucial to the development of the country as a whole. The aim is to improve communications between urban hubs, regional railways, seaports, airports, and international borders.

Dung said Vietnam wanted to cooperate with companies who could bring money, technology and management skills to infrastructure projects.

He also pointed out “some previous shortcomings at some infrastructure projects carried out by Chinese businesses in Vietnam”, VNExpress reported.

Bai noted that CCCC has operated in Vietnam since 1996 and had completed 20 projects, including the Hanoi-Haiphong Expressway and the Vinh Tan thermal power plant.

Vietnam requires private sector investment in the North-South railway, since only three of its 11 sections are to be funded by the state. When the plan for the railway was floated in 2019, roughly half of the 60 investors who expressed an interest in taking part were from China.

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