Louis Vuitton and some other French fashion companies want to operate a luxury railroad service between Hanoi and HCMC.
They hope to renovate old cars used for 30 years or more and export them to Vietnam, France’s ambassador to the country, Olivier Brochet, told Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Thang at a meeting on Thursday.
They are expecting the ministry to waive certain criteria trains need to meet to operate in Vietnam, he said.
The Hanoi-HCMC route is 1,730 kilometers long and rated by tourism platform Lonely Planet as among the world’s eight most incredible train journeys.
Thang was amenable to the proposal, but sought specific details about the plan to use old trains.
Brochet also said French companies are seeking opportunities to operate other railroad routes such as Thu Thiem – Long Thanh in the south and Hanoi – Hai Phong in the north, and sell aviation and airport equipment made by Airbus and ATR to Vietnam.
His government has approved a non-refundable grant of EUR700,000 (US$762,800) to a company to study the feasibility of renovating Hanoi’s iconic Long Bien bridge, which was built by French firm Daydé & Pillé in 1903.
The French Development Agency is willing to contribute part of the renovation cost, he added.
Thang asked for French official development assistance loans for key infrastructure projects and for businesses from that country to partner with their Vietnamese counterparts for developing key rail routes.
Vietnam is investing in new airports and upgrading existing ones in Hanoi and HCMC, and these are investment areas that French firms could look into, he added.
Source : VNExpress