The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to lend US$60
million to help restore a rail link between the Vietnamese capital,
Hanoi, and the Chinese border.
The ADB's China office said on Thursday that the
project would promote sustainable growth and trade links between
the two countries by improving a vital subregional rail
The line stretches 285 kilometers between Yen Vien, on
the north of Hanoi, and Lao Cai, which carries substantial domestic
and regional traffic between Vietnam's Hai Phong port and China's
Most of the line was built before 1910, and inadequate
investment in maintenance had led to its deterioration.
The project would ensure that it could operate safely
and efficiently, boosting capacity at stations and main terminal
points to permit the use of heavier and longer trains and increase
the number of trains that could use the line.
"The restored line is expected to help boost bilateral
trade between Vietnam and China and also international trade from
China via the container port at Hai Phong," said Ray Cahoon, ADB
team leader for the project.
"It will also eventually form an integral part of the
Singapore-Kunming link, which may be completed by about 2015 with
the construction of a final link between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh
City," he added.
About 200,000 people living along the line should
benefit. Public consultations had indicated strong support for the
project, which was expected to generate jobs directly and
indirectly, as well lower transport costs and travel
It would open up tourist areas in Vietnam, including
the World Heritage Site at Halong Bay and the Sa Pa mountain
The ADB loan, from its concessional Asian Development
Fund, covered almost 38 percent of the project's estimated cost of
160 million dollars. The loan has a 32-year term, including a grace
period of eight years.
Vietnam Railways is the executing agency for the
project, which is due for completion around the end of
(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2006)