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Chinese Company Proposes Rail Link Between Saigon and Phnom Penh

In yet another plan that would change the face of rail in Vietnam, a Chinese firm has proposed the construction of a new international railway line that would span the Mekong Delta.


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The plan calls for 743km of track to be laid in order to connect Saigon to Can Tho, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Kim Hak Min, Dean of Industry-Academy Cooperation with South Korea’s Soonchunhyang University, who has been authorized by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) to present the project to city leaders, said that the rail line would position Can Tho as an “outstanding destination in Vietnam in the future, and a city of happiness,” according to Tuoi Tre.

The Saigon - Can Tho phase of the project would include the construction an industrial park, a retreat center, a residential area and a hi-tech hub, all funded by a loan from South Korea, the CSCEC and other foreign sources.

While the city already has a solid infrastructure, a rail line would attract further investment, said Kim.

In addition to the 180km Saigon - Can Tho line, the CSCEC has proposed building 320km and 243km extensions to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, respectively.

When asked why a Chinese contractor should be tapped for the job, Kim explained that it all comes down to cost. 100 meters of track built by a Japanese company costs US$100,000 while that laid by a Chinese company carries a $70,000 price tag.

Tran Thanh Man, Party Secretary of Can Tho, has insisted on an official investment proposal from the CSCEC in order to put it in front of relevant government agencies for feedback.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed off on a plan for a high-speed railway that would cut the travel time from Saigon to Hanoi to about 3 hours and 30 minutes.

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