There are eight public-private partnership (PPP) sub-projects seeking domestic investors.
After inviting bids for 30 days, project management units sold over 90 bidding application forms to investors keen on the project.
However, at the close, a mere 32 bidding applications were submitted to the project management units under the ministry.
Among the eight public-private partnership (PPP) sub-projects, the most applications submitted to a sub-project is nine and the least is two.
The board will conduct preliminary evaluations of the 32 dossiers within one month, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) has said. The identity of companies and consortium who have submitted applications has not been disclosed.
Investors who pass the preliminary assessment stage will next be inspected by the MoT. The ministry is expected to announce results of the bidding by February 2020, deciding the contractors for eight sub-projects of the North-South Expressway, to be built under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model.
For the next stage, the project management units will hold tenders to select eligible investors. The tenders will last for a maximum of 270 days.
The Ministry of Transport has set criteria to mark potential investors with a maximum score of 100. Financial capacity accounts for 60 points, while 30 scores points will be awarded for experience and 10 points for planning. Up to five of the highest scoring investors will be selected for each sub-project, it said.
According to Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The, it would take 30 days to evaluate the pre-qualification applications and 40 days to approve them.
Bidding will start in April and will take 90 days to evaluate and about 50 days to approve.
The bidding could be completed by November next year, The said.
In July, the ministry announced they would cancel open international bidding for eight projects on the North-South Expressway, in favor of homegrown investors.
The number of foreign investors passing the pre-qualification stage was low, leading to a lack of competition, said the ministry.
The North-South Expressway covers 2,109km, extending from the northern mountainous province of Lang Son to the southernmost province of Ca Mau and its estimated completion date is in 2025.
It has 11 sub-projects, with three invested by the State budget, and others under PPP deals.
Eleven sub-projects of the transnational expressway, including the aforementioned eight, have total investment cost of VND118.72 trillion ($5.11 billion), of which VND55 trillion ($2.37 billion) from the government.
Work on the first of the state-funded sections began in early October, while work on the eight PPP sections could begin next April, the ministry has said.
The 11 sections will run 654 kilometers between northern Nam Dinh Province and Vinh Long Province to the southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.
Once completed, it is expected to become a backbone connecting the entire country.
A number of sections covering 601km are already under construction.