Opportunities open up for local railway

01-Mar-2019 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

After North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to Vietnam by train for a summit with US President Donald Trump, the local railway sector has started considering expanding its international rail lines, especially through China.

At present, just one international rail route is operated on Vietnam Railway Corporation’s (VNR’s) rail system, which is the route between Gia Lam station in Hanoi and Nanning station in China, with one round trip per day. The Chinese side offers the service and pays fees to VNR.

According to VNR deputy general director Phan Quoc Anh, the train carries 110 passengers on average per leg. It can run to Gia Lam station in Hanoi as the width of the track from China to Gia Lam is 1.435 meters, while the remaining tracks in Vietnam are one metre wide.

In addition, Vietnam’s trains do not meet certain requirements for entering mainland China.

Earlier, rail routes between Hanoi and Kunming and between Halong and Guilin had been launched, but they were ceased later due to the small number of passengers.

Vietnam has yet to open rail routes to Europe, South Korea or North Korea. However, the country can cooperate with China Railway to introduce joint train services.

At the end of 2017, the Eurasian Economic Union’s (EAEU’s) free trade agreement came into force, allowing Vietnam to operate rated trains with 10-17 containers each carrying fruits from Hanoi to China, Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia.

Kazakhstan, an EAEU member, has expressed interest in cooperating with Vietnam to develop rail routes through China. However, the cost of transporting goods on these routes is high, though the transport time may be reduced by two weeks compared with sea transport.

Further, the customs clearance procedures at Dong Dang border gate in Lang Son Province and Lao Cai border gate in the province of the same name are complicated.

Many Chinese enterprises have worked with VNR on train services between the two countries. Leaders of VNR and China Railway will discuss the fees for enterprises using these services at a meeting of the Organisation for Cooperation of Railways next month.



Category: Economy, Vietnam

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