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VNR plans expansion of shopping centers at train stations in Vietnam
Phi Nhat 15:30, 2021/03/29
The railway station area is expected to become the location of amusement parks, supermarkets and services, then earning profits.

The state-owned Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR) continues raising its expansion of a network of retail centers at nearly 300 train stations which would provide income for the development of the national railway industry. 

 The VNR wishes to build shopping centers at train stations nationwide. Photo: Duy Khanh

The railway station area would accommodate amusement parks, supermarkets and services for residents and visitors, Vu Anh Minh, Chairman of the VNR told a recent conference.

“The added value here is even greater than that of other areas. They provide services not only for passengers but also surrounding residents and this is a great advantage that we have to tap into,” Minh suggested, adding that many countries have built retail centers at railway station premises with central and local budgets, including private businesses.

The proposal is aimed at raising capital for renewing the outdated infrastructure of the railway industry, especially the train stations. With the current infrastructure system, it is hard for the industry to be profitable. 

Among 297 train stations, only ten can earned profits from passenger and cargo transport, so that it is necessary to step by step upgrade them so as for these stations to become economically efficient, Minh added. 

“As a result, the residual value of upgraded stations will be bigger by 2030, then the capital sourced from the stage budget for the maintenance and upgrading of railway infrastructure will be gradually diminished,” Minh said. 

He believed this is the only solution, the most breakthrough and also the greatest hope of the industry to promote the development of the railway industry.

Passengers board at the Hanoi station.Photo: Cong Hung

At the seminar entitled “Challenges and Opportunities for the Development of Vietnam's Railway Industry” on March 25 on Hanoi, Dang Quyet Tien, Director of the Corporate Finance Department under the Ministry of Finance, said that the VNR has worked out plan to tap into the well-positioned stations for the purpose of improving the passenger transit handling and building supermarkets, hotels or cultural centers.

In 2019, the corporation submitted its plan for upgrading the railway infrastructure and is waiting for the Prime Minister’s approval on assigning railway stations to them to manage. Some local experts said that, to attract passengers, the railway sector needs improve service quality rather than upgrading a station with a commercial centre.

According to the country’s railway development strategy for 2016-30, the industry would require an estimated VND110 trillion (US$4.8 billion) by 2030 to revamp the existing network.

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