PM asks for Japan’s cooperation in building north-south high-speed railway

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By Viet Tuan July 22, 2022 | 4:24 p.m. PT

A Shinkansen bullet train in Japan. Illustration photo by Shutterstock

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Friday asked the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to support Vietnam in building a north-south high-speed railway.

Receiving JBIC Chairman Maeda Tadashi in Hanoi on Friday, Chinh said the development of the railway can be done in parts and learn lessons along the way.

Besides the railway project, Chinh also called on Japan and JBIC to catalyze next-generation ODA cooperation projects between the two countries and support Vietnam in deploying strategic infrastructure projects, especially in traffic areas. , climate change, digital transformation and increased medical capacity.

Chinh further called on Japan and JBIC to help Vietnam access the $10 billion in aid that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged at the COP26 conference so that the country can achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

The prime minister said he hopes the JBIC will encourage Japanese companies to transfer their investments and diversify their supply chains to Vietnam, making Japan one of the major investors in the country.

Tadashi said he greatly appreciates Vietnam’s commitment and actions on environmental issues. He said JBIC would like to cooperate with Vietnam in several areas.

The Ministry of Transport has proposed a 1,559 km north-south high-speed rail line with speeds of 320 to 350 km/h. This high-speed railway would be used for passenger transport, while the current traditional rail routes would be used for freight transport.

The total investment for high-speed rail is expected to exceed $58 billion. The first phase of the project, which will be completed before 2030, would see the construction of two sections: Hanoi-Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City-Nha Trang.

At 320 km/h, it would only take about an hour to get from Hanoi to the Vinh town of Nghe An, while the plane trip would take about three hours, including security check time. It would take about 4.2 hours to get from Hanoi to Nha Trang, also faster than flying for 4.5 hours. The bullet train would take 5.5 hours to get from Hanoi to HCMC, while the flight would take 4.5 hours.

Ticket prices for the high-speed rail are expected to be about 75% of an average plane ticket on the same route, officials said.

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