DP World to assess Hyperloop route for Jebel Ali Port

DP World to assess Hyperloop route for Jebel Ali Port

Aug 18, 2016: DP World has agreed to conduct feasibility studies into the possibility of moving containers through air-resistant tubes, perhaps at speeds of around 1,200 km/h.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with a US-based technology startup called Hyperloop.

Hyperloop is developing a system which aims to transport passengers or cargo in levitating pods through tubes at up to 1,200 km/h.

DP World will analyse the value of using this system in the UAE, initially to transport containers between its flagship Jebel Ali port and a new inland container depot in nearby Dubai.

The company’s CEO Ahmed bin Sulayem said, “The potential to use these kind of technologies in emerging markets outside the UAE such as Africa and Asia with large land mass is significant.”

According to The Next Web, Hyperloop’s developers claim it could be carrying cargo by 2018 and passengers by 2021, with politicians’ permission.

The concept for Hyperloop was first proposed by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, in a white paper in 2013. The initial idea was to develop a way of transporting passengers faster than an aeroplane could – from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes for example.

Musk did not develop his own idea though and in May 2016 Hyperloop One raised US$80m to develop and test it while other companies explore similar technologies.

Although the ultimate plan is for the pods to levitate in a vacuum-filled tube, thereby minimising resistance and increasing speed, the only public tests have involved no tube and no levitating. However, a test in May did manage to accelerate a sled to 187 km/h in 1.1 seconds.

If the system did manage to develop a system which could transport containers at 1,200 km/h then it could theoretically move containers between Djibouti and Addis Ababa in 30 minutes, Marseille and Rotterdam in 45 minutes; Los Angeles and Charleston in around three hours and between Chongqing and Duisburg in just under seven hours.

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