A passenger boards a train in Hanoi in February 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.
The Covid-19 pandemic and central region floods have caused the Vietnam Railways Corporation’s revenues to plummet and are likely to saddle it with losses for 2020.
The parent company reported a total revenue of VND1.71 trillion ($74.5 million), with an estimated loss of 1.32 trillion.
As a result of the pandemic, the number of passengers was sharply down during peak travel seasons such as summer and New Year.
A total 2,886 train routes were suspended from February to May this year, owing to Covid-19 impacts, according to Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR). Total passenger numbers were also sparse for the first six months, filling only 56 percent of total train capacity.
It has been the biggest slump in the company’s history,
Vu Anh Minh, its chairman, at a meeting on January 8 warned that 2021 could be bad too due to the continuing pandemic, competition from low-cost airlines and upgrades that could see some routes suspended.
Nguyen Thi Phu Ha, vice chairwoman of the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC), said the rail company is facing huge losses. It is essential that railroad infrastructure improvement works are carried out carefully to attract private investment, she said.
Vietnam has over 3,000 km of track, none of it high speed. Last year, trains carried eight million passengers, down 6.9 percent year-on-year.