The Cat Linh-Hadong metro line, Hanoi's first urban railway project, is facing risks of falling behind schedule as the delay in approval of additional loans has not been solved yet.
|Construction site of Depot Hadong
The project was earlier scheduled for a trial operation in October 2017, which will be followed by the official launch at the end of the first quarter of 2018. Although 90 per cent of the project has been completed, including stations, depots, and girders, the sluggish allocation of an additional loan of $250.6 million remains a big problem.
An official of the Ministry of Transport (MoT) admitted that the project will likely miss the schedule. “The project is in the final development stage, the demand for capital disbursement is huge. However, the allocation of the financial sources remains stagnant,” the official said, blaming procedure-related problems. "It needs strong cooperation from ministries and agencies.”
“Currently, the allocation of an additional loan is three months behind the schedule and the delay is likely to continue,” the official noted.
The project is using loan from China. The additional loan of $250.6 million is being negotiated by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, and China's Eximbank to complete the necessary procedures.
At a recent national conference on road safety, Nguyen The Hung, Deputy Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, said that the project is an urgent solution to ease traffic jams in Hanoi during 2017-2020.
The Cat Linh-Hadong urban railway is an important factor that enables Hanoi to ban motorbikes in several districts by 2030.
Previously, the Cat Linh-Hadong urban railway project was approved in October 2008 and then adjusted in February 2016. It has a total investment value of VND18 trillion ($794.57 million) and was to be officially launched in 2016.
There are many reasons for the delay, mainly originating from the delay of the main contractor in determining equipment price, which affected the progress of entering into an additional loan agreement and bidding to procure equipment.