Reopening increases foreign interest in transport upgrade

June 29, 2022 | 20:00
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Together with digital transformation and sustainable development trends, smart mobility in Vietnam is attracting growing interest among international businesses, expecting to change the investment picture in the local transport sector.
Reopening increases foreign interest in transport upgrade
Roads, airports, and seaports are being looked at by overseas companies in terms of investment feasibility, Photo: Shutterstock

On June 16, Hoang Gia Khanh, deputy general director of state-owned railway giant Vietnam Railways (VNR), received a delegation of Austrian businesses at its headquarters who introduced new products and technology solutions aiming to seek opportunities in the local industry.

The commercial counsellor of the Austrian Embassy in Hanoi said that businesses expect to intensify cooperation with VNR, specifically those in funding and upgrading projects, as well as machinery upgrading and maintenance. He added that besides official development assistance, the Austrian government also has other financial tools that can help VNR access financial resources and technologies.

According to Khanh, investment demand for the industry’s infrastructure development is huge and he highly appreciates the products and technology of groups like Plasser & Theurer and VAE.

One day earlier, Austrian businesses gathered at the Austria-Vietnam Future Mobility Workshop to discuss sustainable transport solutions, e-mobility, new means of public transport, and technologies for future urban mobility that could be applied in Vietnam and Hanoi in particular, to adapt the transport system to new demands like digitalisation, energy efficiency, and decarbonisation in accordance with the Paris climate goals.

Austria has one of the most highly developed transport networks in the EU, especially in the capital of Vienna. Up to now, Austrian know-how and technologies have been contributing to the development of Vietnam’s mobility sector in urban master planning, electric vehicle development, railway solutions, and cable cars, amongst others.

Similarly, environmentally-friendly and modern mobility is attracting other international groups. Cooperation is being focused on a broad spectrum of issues, including specific innovative solutions in the field of e-mobility and new modes of transport.

Also in June, Japan’s IHI Group visited the headquarters of VNR to seek to join railway projects. In late May, a business group led by Hirofumi Mori, chief representative of Nippon Koei in Vietnam, also worked with VNR on the modernisation of the railway industry, including electrification of existing railway lines.

Japan is famous for advanced technologies in railways and express trains. In 2020, the country launched its latest record-breaking bullet train which not only runs faster and smoother than previous versions, it is also said to be earthquake-proof for passengers.

While Vietnamese railways seem to be luring more attention among international businesses after the country reopened its border, the aviation sector is also becoming more appealing.

In early June, Malcom An, senior managing director at Boeing, led a business mission to discuss new business opportunities with Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation. A few weeks previously, Airbus launched a demonstration of the new Airbus A220 at Noi Bai International Airport, making Vietnam among the first destinations on its Asia-Pacific demo tour and demonstrating its plan to venture further into the local aviation market amid rising travel demand.

Recent months also saw many partnerships established in the aviation sector, including those between Airports Corporation of Vietnam and Italy’s Società Esercizi Aeroportuali, and Japan’s Fukuoka International Airport Co., Ltd.

Nations worldwide are racing to find a cleaner form of mobility and to make the ecosystem safer and easily accessible. Future mobility will play a vital role for the global energy sector to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and also help to meet the critical energy-related UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In Vietnam, an era of digital transformation sits alongside the rapid development of sci-tech and an explosion in the number of transport vehicles, especially in urban cities. In line with the government’s drastic directions toward adapting to Industry 4.0, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) issued Decision No.2327/QD-BGTVT on approving the scheme for sci-tech applications alignment with Industry 4.0.

Nguyen Ngoc Dong, Deputy Minister of Transport, told VIR that the ministry’s action plan will focus on trends and applying advanced technologies of Industry 4.0 in the transport sector, as well as increasing state management and attracting foreign investment.

“This includes construction, management, and operation; maintenance of the infrastructure network; transportation and logistics; traffic safety; natural disaster prevention; environmental protection; and high-quality human resources,” Dong said. “Application of sci-tech advancements such as the Internet of Things, big data, AI, nanotechnology, and automation will be boosted.”

Vietnam is developing a number of major transport infrastructure projects. It wants to ensure a system of about 5,000km of expressways connecting the country by 2030, and also plans to upgrade and develop modern seaports with high-quality services to meet the rising trade demand.

Moreover, with the ambition to reduce emissions in the transport sector before 2050, the MoT is planning to promote the use of electricity and bio-fuel and develop a green and environmentally-friendly transport infrastructure.

Hans-Peter Glanzer - Austrian Ambassador to Vietnam

Mobility is a basic human need, and the transport of goods is a prerequisite for our economy. At the same time, we have to adapt the transport system to new demands like digitalisation, energy efficiency, and decarbonisation.

Both Vietnam and Austria have made ambitious pledges with regard to carbon neutrality. The transport sector accounts for the largest share – around 30 per cent of Austria’s total emissions. And apart from climate action, the current political developments are also making a strong case for reducing the dependency on oil.

We are very interested to hear about the strategies and policies of Vietnam. The Power Development Plan VIII, for instance, aims for decarbonisation and increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix. The recently launched Vietnam Energy Outlook Report 2021 puts the focus on direct electrification of passenger and freight transport. The remaining one-third of the transport demand should be covered by e-fuels and biofuels.

Austria’s industry has developed a high level of know-how in the fields of automotives, rail technology, and intelligent transport systems and has also contributed to the development of Vietnam’s mobility sector. I hope that this event will further strengthen the cooperation between Vietnam and Austria in the field of sustainable transport solutions.

Nguyen Huu Tien - Deputy director Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Transport

Aware of the country’s net-zero commitments, the transport sector has been implementing a number of activities, including greenhouse gas inventory system, restructuring of the transport market towards reducing the market share of roads, and increasing the share of inland waterway transport, railways, and public means of transport.

It also wants to develop more electric buses, apply emission standards for vehicles on road, and applying energy labels for them.

In the transport sector’s future development towards low-carbon, it will give priorities to public means of transport and curb the number of private vehicles, while focusing on energy efficiency. The sector will develop means of transport that use clean energy sources, and intensify control of gas emissions from means of transport.

Huynh Quyet Thang - President, Hanoi University of Science and Technology

While Vietnam has committed to net-zero emissions by 2050, for a developing country with an economy heavily dependent on traditional fuels, achieving this depends on how mobility will be in the future.

With the vision to 2025 of becoming a pioneering innovation research university in the Vietnamese higher education system, we have identified four priority areas of sci-tech: data technology and intelligent systems; sustainable energy and the environment; advanced materials; and health sciences. At the same time, we wish to perfect the international integration ecosystem, promoting innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in the university.

To accomplish this goal, we focus on promoting the development of products in key areas and implementing a comprehensive internationalisation strategy in training and scientific research and technology transfer. In this, the main objectives are expanding university-industry links, strengthening academic and research exchange, and developing strategic partnership networks.

By Bich Thuy

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