The Vietnamese transport ministry has proposed the mobilization of VND3,500 billion ($141.3 million) from the state budget to upgrade seven railway stations by 2025, including designating them international. The seven stations are Dong Dang, Lao Cai, Kep, Vat Cach, Kim Lien, Dieu Tri and Song Than.
According to Vietnamese media Vnexpress, the upgrade will cover existing warehouses, building new container yards of airport runway standards, adding new railway tracks in the stations, and upgrading locomotives and carriages.
As of now, Dong Dang that borders China and Vat Cach in the northern port city of Hai Phong have prepared their investment and expenditure plans totaling VND470 billion for the 2022-2024 period.
Two other stations – Kim Lien in the central city of Da Nang and Song Than in the southern province of Binh Duong – expect to invest a total of around VND2,300 billion by 2025.
According to the Ministry of Transport, the upgrade of these seven stations aims to increase the import-export volume of goods via rail from 1.1 million tons in 2021 to 4-5 million tons by 2030. Of this, the Hanoi-Dong Dang route will account for 3 million tons while the Hai Phong – Yen Vien – Lao Cai route will account for 1.5 million tons.
The ministry has also proposed that the stations are given the international designation as is done with seaports and airports. If they are not recognized as international, they can’t open customs branches at the stations, which would restrict import and export activities and reduces the capacity of railway transport.
Vietnam’s railway system currently has 14 stations that can transport international goods, of which seven stations have been designated international. The seven yet to receive the designation are Dong Anh, Kep, Sen Ho, Kim Lien, Dieu Tri, Trang Bom and Vat Cach.
The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and high fuel prices that increased the cost of road transport has led to a shift to railway transport.
International freight route via China to Kazakhstan, Russia, Belgium and Germany
Currently, the railway sector operates one international freight route from Yen Vien (Hanoi) to Liege (Belgium), which usually carries electronic goods, textiles, footwear, leather goods, cosmetics and frozen food. The multi-modal transport train departs from Yen Vien, transits at China and arrives in Almaty (Kazakhstan) after 12-14 days, in Moscow (Russia) after 23-25 days and in Duisburg (Germany) after 25-26 days.
Under the national railway development plan until 2030 with a vision to 2050, the sector will establish connections across Asia and Eurasia through Chinese railways at Huu Nghi and Lao Cai border gates; and with the ASEAN network via Laos (Mu Gia and Lao Bao) and Cambodia (Loc Ninh).