VIETNAM RAILWAYS is to be split into separate infrastructure management and train operating companies under legislation which was introduced to the country’s National Assembly last month.

Transport Minister Dao Dinh Binh said on June 8 that the move was ’aimed at ensuring equal treatment for all economic sectors’. The Railways Bill follows passing of legislation restructuring Vietnam’s inland waterways, under a programme to reform transport management and safety legislation and to integrate international laws.

The intention is that DSVN will retain control of the infrastructure, which would be used by independent operating companies. An independent regulator will be set up to ensure fair treatment of all players. However, Binh said the split is unlikely to take place before 2010, as infrastructure management ’is not a profitable business’ and it would be difficult to raise private investment or foreign aid funding for much-needed upgrading work.