A senior French diplomat has said that his country wishes to contribute its advanced technical expertise to the development of urban railway systems in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Fabrice Mauries, Consul General of France in Ho Chi Minh City, made the remark on May 28 at a seminar with leading Vietnamese and French experts in rail transport and urban planning, adding that it is a concrete illustration of the bilateral partnership between the two countries.

The event, which was held in this southern economic hub by the French Embassy in Vietnam, the French Agency for International Business Development in Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Management Unit, is part of economic activities to mark Vietnam-France Year.

The diplomat said that developing urban railway systems is an important area in the France-Vietnam partnership, which is manifested by the construction of a pilot line in Hanoi with a majority of French financial assistance.

With annual GDP growth of 7 percent over the past 20 years, population growth of one million people per annum and the fast speed of urbanisation, experts say Vietnam needs an urban railway network to meet growing socio-economic demand.

The seminar created an avenue for the Vietnamese side to update information on its fledgling urban railway and planning, and for the French side as well as international firms to seek opportunities for railway construction projects in Vietnam, said Hoang Nhu Cuong, Vice Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Management Unit.

Discussions touched upon related issues such as the creation of future railway lines, ticket systems, public transport infrastructure planning, and the control of risks, safety and working conditions.

Hanoi is planning to build eight urban railway lines, of which four having been implemented, in Ho Chi Minh City, the figure is 10, including one tram and two monorail routes, according to data presented at the seminar.-VNA