Vietnam says they need funds for 5,900 km of expressways

HANOI – Vietnam, where crumbling infrastructure has been criticised for impeding economic development, is seeking funds to build nearly 5,900 km (3,666 miles) of expressways in the next decade, the government said on Thursday.

“It is very feasible to quickly recoup investment in expressway projects, given the pace of the country’s economic
growth,” Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said at a workshop organised by the World Bank in Hanoi.

The World Bank estimated it would cost about $9 million to build one km of highway in Vietnam, putting the total funds needed to develop the proposed expressway network in the Southeast Asian country at $53 billion.

Hung said the government would seek funds from various sources including foreign aid, government and corporate bonds as well as participation from the private sector.

Vietnam’s undeveloped road network and speedy urbanisation have resulted in rising traffic accidents and heavy congestion in large cities.

In the past week, heavy rain has inundated parts of Hanoi and turned some of the capital’s roads into rivers.

Traffic accidents in Vietnam, home to 21 million motorcycles and more than 1 million cars, killed nearly 7,000 people in the first seven months of 2008, according to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.

Vietnam plans urban rail to ease traffic choke

Motorcyclists at an intersection in Hanoi

Motorcyclists at an intersection in Hanoi

HANOI (AFP) — Vietnam plans to build urban rail systems worth nearly 15 billion dollars in its two largest and most traffic-choked cities by 2020, the communist government said in a statement Monday.

The capital Hanoi in the north and the southern commercial hub and major port of Ho Chi Minh City would each receive about half of the funds, much of which has yet to be raised from investors and development agencies.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked officials to speed up preparations for the elevated and underground railway systems and focus on attracting overseas aid and loans for the projects.

Hanoi would receive 7.3 billion dollars to build seven railway lines, under the plan announced on the official government website, while Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, would receive 7.5 billion dollars.

In Ho Chi Minh City, construction started in February for a train system set to include 19.7 kilometres (12.2 miles) of rail lines above and below ground, financed mostly with Japanese loans, officials said at the time.

French, German and Chinese companies have also expressed interest in plans to build Vietnamese urban rail projects.

AFP: Vietnam plans urban rail to ease traffic choke

Vietnam May Raise Auto Import Duties to Decrease Traffic Jams

Feb. 19, 2008As traffic is choking up the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the government is considering raising import taxes on both imported cars and spare parts, the state-run Vietnam News Agency  reported. Worsening traffic congestion is being fuelled by surging sales of both imported and locally-assembled cars.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked government ministries to draw up suitable tax policies aimed at reducing traffic jams, the report said, with proposals ranging as high as a 70% import duty rate.

Customers who have heard about the possible tax increases are rushing to buy cars in anticipation of higher prices, said the report.

Sales of vehicles assembled in Vietnam rose 156% to over 12,000 units in January year-on-year, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said, pointing to a 350% increase in the commercial vehicle sector.

The imports of completely built units shot up by an even steeper 421% year-on-year, with about 3,000 units worth almost $50 million  imported into Vietnam in January, said the Industry and Trade Ministry.

Vietnam, an emerging economy with 8.5% growth last year, moved from mainly bicycles to motorcycles in the 1990s and is now witnessing a rapid rise in car ownership, especially in the biggest cities.

Vietnam, a country of 86 million people, last year cut car import duties several times, from 90% before it joined the World Trade Organization in January 2007 to a current level of 60%, said the report.