Friday, March 9, 2012

Toll for southern expressway may not be slashed

A toll station on HCM City - Trung Luong Expressway.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong told correspondents yesterday, March 7, that the toll for the Cau Gie – Ninh Binh expressway is VND1,500/km but northern transporters had not complained, while southern transporters said that the VND1,000/km toll of the HCM City – Trung Luong is too high.

Truong said that the toll applied for the southern expressway is reasonable to compensate the huge investment capital in this road and to have capital to invest in other projects.

The deputy minister also confirmed that two toll stations would be built on the National Highway 1, which also links HCM City to the Mekong Delta. He said that the government approved this plan because the government invested a lot of money to upgrade the National Highway 1. Toll would be collected on this road in order to compensate for investment in this road and the expressway. Moreover, if toll is applied, trucks will not switch traveling from the expressway to the national highway.

“If toll is not collected, the National Highway 1 will be overloaded and the road will be broken after a period of time. The Transport Ministry has asked the Prime Minister’s approval to build toll stations on the National Highway 1,” the deputy minister said.

The official said that transporters would have to consider of raising transport charges because if charges are too high, clients will not use their services.

The HCM City Cargo Transport Association recently lodged a complaint to the Prime Minister, Minister of Transport and Minister of Finance over the high toll on HCM City – Trung Luong expressway.

According to the association, trucks over 10 tons are the main vehicles used by transport companies to transport goods from HCM City to provinces and the Mekong Delta, and vice versa.

The current toll on trucks of over 18 tones is VND8,000 per one kilometer, so transporters have to pay up to VND640,000 ($30.5) for a trip. The toll is too high compared to profit earned by transporters, which is estimated at VND300,000-400,000 ($14-19) for a trip within a 100km diameter. If transporters do not raise charges by at least 20 percent, profit will be not enough to pay the toll.

The association asked the government to cut down the toll by a half and to not place toll stations on National Highway 1A.

It said that it is unreasonable to place toll stations on this road to collect tolls in order to compensate for the investment in the HCM City-Trung Luong expressway.

Heavy trucks have switched to traveling on National Highway 1A instead of the HCM City -Trung Luong Expressway, after the road management unit officially started toll collection on February 26.