Ho Chi Minh City is striving to open its first Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro route by early 2018.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan urged the city’s Urban Railway Management Board and stakeholders to fulfil the target at a February 25 working session with visiting Japan International Cooperation Agency President Tanaka Akihiko.

The 19.7km Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien line will run through districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc in HCM City and parts of Di An district in neighbouring Binh Duong province.

Of the total length, 2.6km will run underground with three stations. The remaining sections and another 11 stations will be constructed aboveground.

Once the line becomes operational, it will be able to load 186,000 passengers per day. This figure is expected to triple by 2020 and quintuple by 2040.

The city has plans for seven metro lines, including the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien route.

At the session, the municipal leader also suggested JICA support and create conditions for Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises to invest in the city.

So far, Japan has aided the Vietnamese city in upgrading its infrastructure by constructing East-West Avenue and improving water environment, environmental sanitation and landscapes along Tau Hu, Ben Nghe, Kenh Doi, and Kenh Te canals.

According to the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zone Authority (Hepza), Japanese capital topped the list of foreign investment in the locality last year.

Japan, HCM City’s third largest foreign investor, now has 112 FDI projects in the city with investment totalling over 3 billion USD.-VNA