In a document sent to the Ministry of Finance early this month, the transport ministry said the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract of the Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro section could not be finished on schedule, causing delays and as a result, raised the cost of supervising and consulting by about $7.8 million.
However, there is “very little” of Vietnam's counterpart fund left for the project although the additional loan agreement with China totals $26.4 million, it said.
Therefore, in April, the transport ministry had suggested the Export-Import Bank of China adds the supervision consultancy contract to the scope of items financed by the additional loan agreement.
The proposal had been denied by the Chinese bank in August.
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong line runs 13 kilometers on elevated tracks through 12 stations from downtown Dong Da District to Ha Dong District in the southwest of the capital.
Work on the line, the first metro in Hanoi, started in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013, but loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017 and other issues stalled it for years.
The original cost had been estimated at VND8.77 trillion (almost $553 million) before it ballooned to over VND18 trillion, including VND4.13 trillion of Vietnam's counterpart capital.
The firm that built the metro, China Railway Sixth Group, had begun the process of handing over the metro to local authorities on March 31.
In April, the line was awarded a safety certificate by a French consultant, the Apave-Certifier-Tricc consortium.
It is set to operate 18 hours a day with a trip frequency of six to seven minutes. Fares start from VND7,000 per trip.
For now, it is still not clear when the line would officially start commercial operation.
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