A source told VietNamNet that nearly all the execution items, including construction and equipment installation on site, have been completed except for some works to be perfected before official acceptance.

The outstanding work includes completing documents, running the whole system on a trial basis, rehearsing safety situations, and carrying out French consultants’ safety assessment during the system trial operation.

A Ministry of Transport representative said the Chinese EPC contractor has been asked to provide additional documents related to project safety assessment in accordance with the strict standards of the consultant (these are independent criteria of the consultant). However, the EPC contractor is facing difficulties in satisfying the requirement.

To solve this problem, the consultant is considering assessing criteria during the system trial operation. French consultants will give final assessments before the project is put into operation.

After the project gets a safety certification, the investor of the project will officially accept the work and report to the State Acceptance Council. After going through all the procedures, the railway will be handed over to the Hanoi People’s Committee.

According to the Railway Project Management Unit, because of Covid-19, the EPC contractor could not send staff to Vietnam, leading to problems in completing procedures for acceptance and preparing for the trial operation.

In addition, different viewpoints of involved parties in implementing the State Audit’s conclusions led to problems in disbursement.

However, under instruction from the government, the strong support of relevant parties and the efforts by involved parties to handle difficulties, the problems were basically settled after many online working sessions between MOT leaders and the EPC contractor and involved parties.

It is expected that French consultants will come to Vietnam in November to continue their work. The Chinese EPC contractor brought 24 more specialists to Vietnam on October 21 (who are under quarantine), and is following necessary procedures to bring the remaining personnel to Vietnam for the trial operation.

The Railway Project Management Unit said the trial operation and system safety assessment may take two months after mobilizing enough experts to Vietnam. Two months include time for preparation, a trial run (20 days) and rehearsal time.

“The biggest problem now is the pandemic, which causes difficulties for specialists’ travel,” the representative said.

With a strong determination to put the railway into operation soon, as instructed by the Prime Minister, MOT has joined forces with relevant ministries and branches, and the Hanoi People’s Committee to set up a working group to make decisions and settle problems in a timely manner.

This article was originally published in VNA