Installing the first train on the Cat Linh - Ha Dong railway (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The China Eximbank has disbursed 18.25 million USD for the Cat Linh – Ha Dong Railway Project, said Vu Hong Phuong, Deputy Director General of the Railway Project Management Unit under the Ministry of Transport, on May 16.

The amount, part of the delayed 22.75 million USD, has been transferred to the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) contractor, to be paid to sub-contractors.

The project has completed 90 percent of the construction work. Equipment installation is underway, Phuong said.

However, the delay in capital disbursement has hindered the progress of the project.

The Railway Project Management Unit and relevant bodies will supervise the payment process for sub-contractors to ensure they have financial sources for construction.

It will also push the EPC contractor and sub-contractors to speed up the construction to make up for the delay.

The project is scheduled to begin trial run in October and be put into official operation in the second quarter of 2018.

Originally slated to be finished two years ago, capital issues have hindered the progress of the capital’s first metro line, threatening to derail the project.

The Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway will have 12 stations and one depot area. Out of the initially projected investment of 552 million USD, 419 million USD (76 percent) were loans from China and the rest matching funds by the Vietnamese Government.

Construction started in 2011 but since then costs have risen to 886 million USD, exceeding the original figure by 250 million USD, or a 160 percent increase.

An additional preferential loan worth 250.62 million USD, negotiated three years ago, was signed between the Ministry of Finance and China Eximbank on May 11.-VNA