Transport costs soar after bridge collapse hinh anh 1 Bridge repairs will begin on April 1 and are expected to be completed on July 15. (Source :VNA)

 HCM City (VNA) – The collapse of the Ghenh Bridge that shut down the North-South railway left businesses struggling with a big surge in transport costs.

The bridge, crossing the Dong Nai River, collapsed on March 20 after a barge crashed into its pillar, making the Saigon Station in HCM City and Song Than Station in the neighbouring Dong Nai Province completely isolated from the transnational railway line.

Cargo that used to be shipped to those two stations is now being transported to three small stations in Dong Nai, including Long Khanh, Trang Bom and Ho Nai, leading to a sudden overload in cargo deliveries.

A representative of the Kim Thanh Phat Transport Company said the company had to turn to Ho Nai station, located 30km away from the company’s usual loading site at Song Than, which made their costs increase by about 40 percent.

Worse still, the roads leading to Ho Nai are narrow and suffer from traffic jams due to a surge of transport trucks travelling between the two stations.

In addition to the burden on transport firms, manufacturers and goods distributors are also at higher risk of missing deadlines with their business partners.

An Trung Phong Company representative Le Tien Dung said the company was unable to deliver about 500 tonnes of cargo to its partners on time.

“After the Ghenh bridge incident, my company’s transport fees shot up by 100 percent,” Dung said. “We could lose hundreds of million dong a month if this situation continues.”

Song Than Station Head Tran Thi Cu said the Ghenh bridge collapse was the biggest incident in the history of the national railway industry, which cost the station about 13,370 tonnes of cargo a week on average, or 8.15 billion VND (362,200 USD).

Meanwhile, Vietnam Railways (VNR) has proposed to move 150 train carriages stuck in the Saigon Station following the collapse of the Ghenh Bridge to another station to brace for the upcoming holiday season.

Passengers from HCM City now have to reach the Bien Hoa Station in Dong Nai Province by road before they can catch a northbound train.

VNR Chairman Tran Ngoc Thanh said 50 passenger carriages and another 100 for cargo transportation are still stuck in the Saigon station while two long holidays are nearing. Vietnamese will have three days off for the Hung Kings’ Festival in mid-April and another four days for the Reunification Day and International Labour Day.

Thanh asked the Ministry of Transport to let those 150 carriages be transferred to the Bien Hoa, Trang Bom and Ho Nai stations to prepare for the expected travel peak next month.

The North-South railway is expected to resume no sooner than August. The Ghenh Bridge, which will undergo construction beginning April 1, is expected to take from three to five months to be ready for railway transport again.-VNA