Vietnamese high-speed rail link dropped in favour of slower box trains

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VIETNAMESE mainline rail, running between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi was to be transformed into a high-speed link by 2013, but now official focus has been turned to providing container trains to and from the Hai Phong marine terminal.

The aim, reports the UK's Handy Shipping Guide, is to reduce truck volume to and from Hai Phong by increasing rail freight and it is hoped that railcars will carry 230 TEU a day by the end of the year.

But foreign investment is needed to bring this about, said the report. Discouraging this is Vietnam's differing rail gauges.

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report said there was great potential for a rapid increase in rail freight, but since 1993, Vietnam as a major recipient ADB financing, has mostly used infrastructure funding on road building rather than rail, said the report.

But as the country becomes more prosperous, the need for better transport to power the economy will become more urgent and more widely appreciated, said the report.

While 60 per cent of Vietnam's container rail freight moves on the north-south line, 90 per cent of all freight is trucked, clogging highways, which are also subject to seasonal flooding.

Vietnamese shippers complain about rising container costs that have risen in recent weeks with a succession of rate hikes from most major carriers, said the report.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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