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Vietnam Transportations


The war wreaked massive damage on Vietnam's transportation network, especially its railways, roads, and bridges. Further damage occurred during the Chinese invasion in 1979, after which direct rail and air connections with China were severed. The nation's truck fleet is ancient and seriously lacking in spare parts. Most goods move by small barges or sampans along the countless waterways. The length of inland navigable waterways totals about 17,702 km, of which 29% is navigable year-round by vessels with less than a 1.8 m draft. Major ports such as Haiphong in the north and Da Nang in the south, are frequently clogged with goods because many of the stevedores – often overseas Chinese – have fled abroad. In 2010, Vietnam had a merchant fleet of 579 ships of 1,000 GRT or more.

Recognising its importance to economic growth, the government is making a major effort to improve the transportation network. The railways are to be expanded. As of 2008, Vietnam's railway system totalled 2,632 km of standard and narrow gauge track.

There were 180,549 km of roads in the country in 2008, of which 133,899 km were paved. There were an estimated 101,100 passenger cars, 144,600 commercial vehicles in 2003. The main route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City badly needs improvement. In 1997, the government authorised the construction of a new north-south highway, the largest infrastructural project ever undertaken in Vietnam. The construction will take at least 15 years, utilising 10 days of mandatory labour from almost every citizen between the ages of 18 and 45.

In 2012, There were an estimated 44 airports, of which 37, had paved runways. The nation's air fleet remains primitive, as the national airline (Hang Khong Vietnam) uses Soviet passenger liners built in the 1950s. In 2003, about 4.553 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.


Airports : 44 (2012)
Airports - with paved runways : total: 37

over 3,047 m: 9

2,438 to 3,047 m: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 13

914 to 1,523 m: 9 (2012)
Airports - with unpaved runways : total: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 3 (2012)
Heliports : 1 (2012)
Pipelines : condensate 28 km; condensate/gas 10 km; gas 216 km; refined products 206 km (2010)
Railways : total: 2,632 km

standard gauge: 527 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 2,105 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
Roadways : total: 180,549 km

paved: 133,899 km

unpaved: 46,650 km (2008)
Waterways : 17,702 km (5,000 km are navigable by vessels up to 1.8 m draft) (2011)
Merchant marine : total: 579

by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 142, cargo 335, chemical tanker 23, container 19, liquefied gas 7, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 48, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1, specialised tanker 1

registered in other countries: 86 (Cambodia 1, Kiribati 2, Mongolia 33, Panama 43, Taiwan 1, Tuvalu 6) (2010)
Ports and terminals : Cam Pha Port, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu My, Quy Nhon
Transportation - note: : the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the South China Sea as high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; hijacked vessels are often disguised and cargo diverted to ports in East Asia; crews have been murdered or cast adrift






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