Vietnam plans to modernise its transportation infrastructure by building thousands of kilometres of new expressways along modern railways and airports, the English language news website reported.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved the plans for the massive project, which is scheduled to be carried out through 2020.

The target is to build around 600 kilometres of new expressways by 2015 increasing to 2,000 kilometres by 2020. The upgrade and expansion of National Highway 1A, stretching from Hanoi to Can Tho City, is expected to be completed before 2016.

Priority will be given to upgrades of the north-south rail line and there are plans to study the prospect of building an elevated north-south express railway. Other rail lines will be added, including Lao Cai-Hanoi, Hanoi-Hai Phong, Hanoi-Dong Dang, Bien Hoa-Vung Tau and Saigon-Can Tho routes.

Lines linking to seaports will be considered as well.

For waterways, the goal is to improve the waterways linking the Mekong Delta region with Ho Chi Minh City as well as with the Tien, Hau, Red and Thai Binh rivers.

The building of modern wharves at ports such as Lach Huyen in Hai Phong City and Cai Mep-Thi Vai in Vung Tau will be prioritised along with encouraging foreign investment in Van Phong International Depot in Khanh Hoa province.

In terms of aviation, a target for domestic airlines to increase their market share of foreign passengers by 45.86 percent has been set. New routes to Southern Asia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, North America, South America and Africa would be launched.

The country will also renovate several international airports including Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat, Danang, Can Tho and Cam Ranh.

The equitisation of the national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, is expected to be complete this year with the Government retaining a 75 percent stake.-VNA