A logistics centre and container depot at Hanoi's Yen Vien station, planned to be built in the second quarter, is set to become the first private investment in the railways in Vietnam.

Logistics ILT Railway Joint Stock Company will spend 85 billion VND (4 million USD) to build the Yen Vien Railway Logistics Centre and a 22,000sq.m domestic container warehouse.

It is one of four projects the VRC has submitted to the Ministry of Transport in which it is seeking private investment. The three others are stores in Song Than station in the southern province of Binh Duong and Dong Dang and Xuan Giao A stations in the northern province of Lang Son.

"In the past the railways wanted to invest itself, but now we would like to invite private investors, even to operate trains," VRC Chairman Tran Ngoc Thanh was quoted as saying by Dau Tu (Vietnam Investment Review) newspaper.

"The VRC will provide infrastructure along with necessary services."

More than 10 local investors had evinced interest in railway projects, he revealed. At a recent meeting, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said Vingroup – a property giant — had offered to buy Hanoi, Sai Gon, and Da Nang railway stations and replace them with modern stations elsewhere in the cities to ease pressure on their downtown areas.

"The Da Nang People's Committee has a master plan and decided to move the station out of the city.

"But in the case of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, more research needs to be done. However, development needs should be considered."

Also at the meeting, the Sun Group offered to buy key railway segments like Hanoi – Da Nang, Sai Gon – Da Nang, and Hanoi – Lao Cai.

The group has invested a lot of money in luxury tourism areas around Vietnam and is ready to invest in 20 luxury rail coaches for its clients whether or not the other deals go through.

The Vietnam Railway Authority has also submitted to the Ministry of Transport a list of projects requiring investment, including concessions for 12 segments and four construction works that could cost 5 billion USD.

"Every investor will be able to invest in the railway, not just the Vietnam Railway Corporation," Thang said.-VNA