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Getting There & Away - Getting Around


The Vietnamese railway network has a total length of 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi), dominated by the 1,726 kilometres (1,072 mi) single track North-South Railway running between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The national railway network uses mainly metre gauge, although there are several standard gauge and mixed gauge lines in the North of the country. There were 278 stations on the Vietnamese railway network as of 2005, most of which are located along the North-South line. The Vietnamese railway network is owned and operated by the state-owned enterprise Vietnam Railways (VNR), which operates a number of different subsidiaries involved in construction, communications, training, and other activities connected to railway maintenance.

The overall condition of railway infrastructure in Vietnam varies from poor to fair; most of the network remains in need of rehabilitation and upgrading, having received only temporary repair from damages suffered during decades of war. A joint Japanese-Vietnamese evaluation team found that the poor state of railway infrastructure was the fundamental cause for most railway accidents, of which the most common types are train crashes against vehicles and persons, especially at illegal level crossings; derailments caused by failure to decrease speed was also noted as a common cause of accidents.

Viet Nam's road system includes: national roads administered by the central level; provincial roads managed by the provincial level, district roads managed by the district level, urban roads managed by cities and towns: and commune roads managed by the commune level. The total length of the Viet Nam road system is about 222,179 km with 19.0 % paved, mainly national roads and provincial roads (source: Vietnam Road Administration, 2004). The national road system length is 17,295 km with 83.5% of its length paved. The provincial road system is 27,762 km of length with 53.6% paved.

Expressway is rather a new concept for Vietnamese, traffic is growing rapidly but the major roads are dangerous due to inappropriate design and an inappropriate traffic mix. Expressways would solve these problems along the key corridors, by separating high speed traffic from slower, local traffic.

Viet Nam currently recognizes two classes of expressway. Both have a minimum of two lanes in each direction, but Class A has grade separated interchanges, while Class B has at-grade intersections. There are 4 design-speed categories: 60, 80, 100 and 120 km/h. Generally all cars, buses and trucks are permitted on the expressway but cong nong and motorcycles of less than 70 cc engine capacity are not.

Road finance comes from a number of sources including the government, overseas donors such as the ADB,WB, JBIC and business organizations. Road investment recovery is mainly through tolls collected on bridges and roads, in accordance with laws mentioned above.

In April 1995, a 125-kilometer natural gas pipeline connecting Bach Ho with a power plant near Vung Tau went into operation. With the subsequent addition of compressors, the volume pumped rose to more than 1 billion cubic meters per year. In 2005 a 399-kilometer underwater pipeline, the world's longest, began to carry natural gas onshore from the Nam Con Son basin. The pipeline's anticipated capacity is 2 billion cubic meters per year, while the basin has an estimated 59 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves.

Ports and harbors
Cam Ranh - large deep water port and used by Marco Polo during his voyages to China; formerly a major military facility for the U.S. Army and US Navy during the 1960s; later used by the Soviet Navy and the Vietnamese Navy

    Da Nang - Tien Sa seaport is the third largest sea port in Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong; handles 3-4 million tons of cargo annually
    Hai Phong
    Ho Chi Minh City - a major port facility with several locations including Saigon Port
    Hong Gai
    Qui Nhon
    Nha Trang

Merchant marine
total: 133 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 616,115 GRT/941,611 metric tons deadweight (DWT)

ships by type: bulk 7, cargo 103, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 1, liquified gas 1, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 4 (1999 est.)

Vietnam operates 24 civil airports, including three international gateways: Noi Bai serving Hanoi, Danang serving Danang City, and Tan Son Nhat serving Ho Chi Minh City. Tan Son Nhat is the largest, handling 75 percent of international passenger traffic. Vietnam Airlines, the national airline, has a fleet of 30 aircraft that link Vietnam with 19 foreign cities. In 2004 Vietnam Airlines had 5 million passengers, up 25 percent from the prior year, and management expects the number of passengers to reach 12 million by 2010. In November 2004, Vietnam Airlines announced that it would purchase 10 Airbus A321–200 aircraft and continue negotiations for four Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" aircraft. Vietnam Airlines' goal is to expand its fleet to 73 aircraft by 2010. Beginning in 2006, Vietnam Airlines will cooperate with American Airlines in international flights under a codeshare agreement. Vietnam Airlines' code will apply to American Airlines flights from the United States to Vietnam, Japan, and Europe. American Airlines' code will apply to Vietnam Airlines flights from Vietnam to Japan and Europe.

Airports with civil service

Total : 24
Airports with runways over 3,047 m : 7
Airports with runways from 2,438 to 3,047 m :4
Airports with runways from 1,524 to 2,437 m :14
Airports with runways from 914 to 1,523 m :3