|CT Group Tran Kim Chung sharing his plans to set up a high-speed train to the Mekong Delta |
According to Tran Kim Chung, chairman of the Board of Directors at CT Group, the Mekong Delta has a population comparable to Belgium, Norway, and Finland combined.
He believes that the area has a secure competitive position, but it has not fully utilised its current advantages.
The Mekong Delta’s geological location is particularly unique. It is one of the most valuable deltas in the world, with favourable rainfall, excellent wind, and fertile land. However, people in the region continue to migrate to other areas.
The Mekong Delta’s huge potential still has much room for expansion in terms of transportation, economics, and social development. However, the best way to achieve a breakthrough remains unclear due to its limited budget and the fact that certain projects must be given priority.
According to Dr. Tran Du Lich, the high-speed train line from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho will fuel breakthrough growth in the southwestern area, delivering a makeover for the region.
Chung, who loves the Mekong Delta region, explained that nearly 30 years ago, CT Group possessed the largest coir net export firm and the largest rice export company shipping products to Eastern Europe from Vietnam.
“During the period, our employees worked extensively in the Mekong Delta region,” Chung said.
However, it is difficult to move to the delta since the road system is still underdeveloped. As a result, the group has spent the last two years evaluating a project to develop a high-speed railway in the region.
“Our partners have made preparations and the group has worked with shareholders who have expertise in running successful railroads in Malaysia,” Chung added.
The Group also submitted its project to the World Bank (WB), which advised that the project would only work if there could be synchronised development between traffic, industrial, and commercial zones around the axis.
In line with the WB’s view, Chung said CT Group has set up a joint venture with a wide spectrum of units capable of producing the modules to build such a development.
CT Group will provide reports on the project's specifics to the government and the Ministry of Transport.
The high-speed railway project from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho will require VND170 trillion ($7.39 billion), with site clearing costing VND56 trillion ($2.43 billion) and construction works of VND85 trillion ($3.7 billion).
The freight train will begin at An Binh and Di An stations in Binh Duong province, while the passenger train will start at Tan Kien station (Binh Chanh District of Ho Chi Minh City). The line will end at Cai Rang station in Can Tho province.
The freight train will cover 174 kilometres and the passenger train will travel around 140 kilometres. The route passes through the provinces of Binh Duong, Ho Chi Minh City, Long An, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, and Can Tho, and has 13 stations.
The legal basis for this railway deployment is in accordance with Resolution No.120/2017 to develop the Mekong Delta and adapt to climate change, Decision No.1769/2021 approving railway network planning, and Decision No.287/2022 approving the master plan for the Mekong Delta region for the period from 2021 to 2030.
It is estimated that by 2030, the passenger demand will be about 4.1 million, accounting for a share of around three per cent of the passenger transport market. By 2050, this figure should reach over 22 million, accounting for 8.8 per cent of the market.
Cargo transport will grow from approximately five million tonnes of goods in 2030, accounting for 0.85 per cent of the market, to 41 million tonnes of goods in 2050 (3 per cent of the market).
According to a survey on transportation expenses, a price of between VND800 (3.5 US cents) and VND1,000 (4.3 US cents) per km was calculated for trains travelling at an average speed of between 60 and 80 km/h.
For cargo, a price of VND1,800 (7.8 US cents) per kilometre was calculated for the average speed of 50 km/h.
The passenger transport speed is to range from 55 to 60km/h, with rates from VND600 (2.6 US cents) to VND1,000 (4.3 US cents) per km.
The freight transport speed will range from 45 to 45km/h, with charges from VND400 (1.7 US cents) to VND1,000 (4.3 US cents) per km.
If the high-speed railway – with its top speed of 200km/h – goes into service, the cost is projected to be 5-10 per cent more than for regular rail transit.
To maximise the value of the railway, CT Group suggests developing high-tech industrial parks, agricultural zones, and commercial areas near this route to fully utilise the potential of the route when it is put into operation.