A series of transport infrastructure projects managed by the Ministry of Transport have received rapid-fire investment registrations from both domestic and foreign investors.
The unusually high number of investors, who have registered to become the investors of the Ninh Binh-Thanh Hoa road, and Nghi Son-Bai Vot road, the parts of the North-South Expressway, has made the expressway project become the "hottest project" nowadays.
With the total investment capital of 59 trillion dong, the Ninh Binh-Thanh Hoa will have the length of 126.7 kilometers and six lanes, while Nghi Son-Bai Vot stretch of roads, will have the length of 92.7 kilometers and 4-6 lanes
In the period from March 2011 to June 2011 alone, the Ministry of Transport received the registrations from five investors and joint venture investors, including the foreign well known corporations in infrastructure like South Korean Keangnam Vina and Posco, Chinese Asian Investment Fund, and the Thai Bangkok Transport Public Company.
Meanwhile, to date, three Vietnamese independent investors have also registered the investments in the two projects, namely Xuan Truong Construction Company and Xuan Thanh Investment and Development Joint Stock Company, a subsidiary of Mai Linh Group.
There is a surprise that the La Son-Tuy Loan highway, the project which has been considered as less attractive, has also received the investment registrations from the joint venture of seven Vietnamese and South Korean investors, headed by Shinhan E&C, who plan to invest under the mode of BOT (build-operation-transfer).
A source from the Ho Chi Minh Road Project Management said that the joint venture has shown the letter of interests of Singaporean DBS Bank Ltd, which says the bank may provide the loan of 850 million dollars.
Meanwhile, farer steps have been made in the project on building two first wharfs of Lach Huyen Port, invested by MOLNYKIT, a group of three Japanese investors and the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), capitalised at 330 million dollars and developed under the mode of PPP (private public partnership). It is very likely that the project would be officially inked in the third quarter of 2011.
At present, the Japanese side is awaiting the final conclusion of the Vietnamese side about whether to accept the mechanism on committing to buy back in case the project takes loss, so that it can make decision to ink the exchange of notes and loan agreements.
In the field of aviation, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam CAAV is considering the registration to invest in the Van Don airport in Quang Ninh province, by Joinus Company and the Republic of Koreaís Airline Corporation under the mode of BOT.
Nguyen Hoang, Director of the Planning and Investment Department under the Ministry of Transport, said that the interests in transport infrastructure projects by domestic and foreign investors should be seen as a good thing which shows the good signs of the socialization of the investment sources, thus allowing to ease the burden on the state budget..
However, the "strange phenomenon" in the investment has raised some doubts.
The investment in transport infrastructure has been recognized in the world as having high risks and low efficiency. So, a question has been raised that why such projects can catch the special attention from so many investors?
Another question has also been raised. What are the criteria Vietnam would base on when choosing BOT investors in case there are many registered investors?
It is not by chance that the Ministry of Transport, in a document sent recently to investors, asked the investors to thoroughly consider the relating legal documents.
The documents stipulate that in such projects, the State will only contribute 30 percent of the total investment capital, while investors must have their own capital.