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DP World has launched Cargospeed, a partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One that will develop a hyperloop-enabled cargo system.
While the location of the first system has yet to be revealed, it is no secret that the port operator – together with the UAE government – is keen to launch a system linking Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Chief executive Ahmed Bin Sulayem described cargo as the “catalyst” for “transport revolutions”, citing Dubai as a city that has “always pushed the boundaries of innovation”.
He said: “We made a significant investment because we see the need for a hyperloop-enabled cargo network to support rapid, on-demand deliveries globally.
“It is the right partner to shape the future of global logistics, and we look forward to developing the first DP World Cargospeed systems with it.”
Hyperloop systems are autonomous, propelling pods through near-vacuum steel tubes at up to speeds of 300 metres per second (1,000 kph), way faster than conventional rail – trains in the UK can reach up to 200 kph and in China 250 kph, but rarely for any extended period.
According to Virgin, the fully electric systems can reduce four-day transport times down to 16 hours. Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson said the growth in e-commerce globally was responsible for a “dramatic shift” in business and consumer behaviours.
“On-demand deliveries are a novelty today but tomorrow will be an expectation, and Cargospeed systems will enable ultra-fast, on-demand deliveries of high-priority goods and can revolutionise logistics, support economic zones, and create thriving economic megaregions,” said Sir Richard.
Cargospeed is expected to deploy its hyperloop system to transport high-priority, time-sensitive goods, including fresh food, medical supplies and electronics.
Hyperloop One chief executive of Rob Lloyd said the technology could reduce inventory lead times and cut costs associated with warehousing by around 25%.
“Countries, regions, and states around the world could benefit from a DP World Cargospeed system,” he said. “Taking India as an example, 25% of cargo travelling through Mumbai has its origin or destination in Pune, and a large portion of this trundles along the expressway which carries 110,000 vehicles daily.
“A Virgin Hyperloop One system could reduce a two-to-three hour truck journey between the cities to 25 minutes, combining the state’s largest economic centres into a thriving megaregion,” added Mr Lloyd.