Vietnam's new railway to link Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho City

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US-based EDES Group and Vietnam Southern Institute of Science and Technology signs the agreement to build a railway connecting HCMC and Can Tho City in South Vietnam

The Vietnam Southern Institute of Science and Technology and US-based EDES group on Tuesday signed an agreement to cooperate in building a railway route in southern Vietnam connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two sides, the railway line will be 134 kilometers long, the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper reported.

It willl be designed to have passenger trains run at speeds of 200 kilometers per hour and for cargo trains to move at lower speeds.

The project will be built under the BOT (build-operate-transfer) investment form and is expected to cost around US$3.6 billion.

The train would depart from Tan Kien station in HCMC's Binh Chanh District and go through three provinces including Long An, Tien Giang and Vinh Long before reaching Cai Rang station in Can Tho City.

It will stop at ten stations along the way.

The Southern Institute of Science and Technology said it has studied the project along with local railway experts for the last six years before submitting a report to the Ministry of Transport last month.

At the signing ceremony, representatives of EDES said the railway line will use modern technology, using wind and solar power from  stations instead of using the national power grid.

The two sides will step up a joint venture company to work on the project and submit a final plan to the Ministry of Transport and the government.

After it is approved, they will work together with other partners on raising the investment capital and prepare financial plans to recoup it once the railway becomes functional.

It is estimated that it will take around one year for the project plan to be passed by the government and the ministry; and around three to five years after that for the project to start operations.

The HCMC-Can Tho railway line is part of a master plan to develop Vietnam's railway system from now until 2020 . It is seen as a link that will boost trade between HCMC and the Mekong Delta.

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