28% of Hanoi metro line staff quit their jobs

Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee announced last Friday than more than 28% of the staff who have been hired and trained for the Hanoi’s Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line, have become tired of repeated delays and quit their jobs which is resulting in further project delays.

According to Nguyen, 28% of 1,000 trained employees have left the project making it difficult for the city to proceed with the railways launch while the city hires and trains new people. According to metro line officials, the city has recruited and trained thousands of people with 200 people trained in China.

Nguyen said that the Hanoi People’s Committee has identified multiple key issues that are unresolved between the city and the metro line’s contractor, the China Railway 6 Company.

First, the state assessment council, which evaluates and inspects the safety of the whole system has had their work delayed because the contractor has not provided documents that verify the origin of the equipment used for the project to see whether they meet required standards. 

Second, Vietnamese auditing officials need to audit the project to verify that it complies with applicable Vietnamese laws and regulations. If the auditors make any recommendations, ranging from matters related to design, site clearance and construction, then the contractor must follow-up on the recommendations and implement any changes that audit authorities have asked for. 

Third, the contractor needs to coordinate with the Ministry of Transport on complete the supply of various equipment that were agreed to contractually.

The Cat Linh-Ha Dong Metro Line will be Hanoi’s first metro line. The railways route covers 13 kilometers from Cat Linh Station in Hanoi’s downtown Dong Da District, to the Yen Nghia Station in the southwestern Ha Dong District.

Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong railway started in 2011 with an original completion date planned for 2013. However, multiple administrative and financial problems have set the project back more than 6 years. The railway is being built with loans from China, but problems in costs and the financial disbursement were only resolved in December 2017.

Originally, the railway was estimated to cost $550 million USD, but multiple design changes and delays have caused the project costs to increase to current projections of $870 million USD. The Vietnamese government is funding $200 million USD of the project costs and China is loaning the project $670 million USD.

On October 29 the train operators began a 20-day commercial trial for commercial purposes and according to officials, “if all goes well” with the 20-day trial, then the railway could begin commercial operations by the end of December.

But even if the trials are successful, the Ministry of Transport is unlikely to approve commercials operations since it says that the Chinese contractor has not provided certificates and documents that it has requested. 

In response to the Ministry of Transport, Duong Hong, Director of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong Railway Project, said that the company has provided all of the documents that have been requested but that the government has made additional requests that are difficult for the Chinese contractor to meet.

Hanoi plans to build eight urban railway lines with a combined distance of 305 km, including three monorail segments, as per its development plan for 2030 however multiple experts say that this will be an impossible task unless the national government and city government create a better system to create, design, contract and monitor these infrastructure projects.