The use of hyperloop pods to transport cargo has the potential to revolutionise the logistics industry by shipping goods faster – and considerably cheaper – than current methods, according to Virgin Hyperloop One chief technology officer and board member Josh Giegel.
On Sunday, Virgin Hyperloop One and Dubai port operator DP World announced that they are partnering to create DP World Cargospeed, a firm that will build high-speed delivery systems using hyperloop technology.
Speaking to Arabian Business on the sidelines of the announcement, Giegel noted that the use of hyperloop for cargo has “enormous” implications for the logistics sector.
“It’s moving at the speed of flight, for the cost of trucking,” he said. “You could put a central distribution system here [Dubai] and be able to distribute all your goods, within a couple of hours, all throughout the GCC. You’d be able to have same day shipping.”
Although Giegel noted that passengers are unlikely to use the hyperloop system at distances greater than 1,500 to 2,000 kilometres, overlapping hyperloop networks may prove useful for moving cargo over similar distances.
“Cargo can get there far cheaper, because it’s less energy intensive than a plane,” he said, adding that cargo could potentially be moved on the same hyperloop pods as passengers during off-peak hours.
For passengers, Giegel said that the ticket prices on a hyperloop “will not be significantly different” than that of existing rail networks or air travel”.
“This is going to be a system for everybody, not just the super-rich,” he said. “[But] here will be a little bit of a premium that you pay because it’s so fast.”
Speaking at the event, Virgin Hyperloop One board chairman Sir Richard Branson said the hyperloop could be used to transport passengers between two airports in minutes, saving time by avoiding traffic and without the need to go through customs or immigration again.
“Suddenly, those two airports effectively become one airport,” he said. “All the misery of travel can be taken away.”
Additionally, Branson said that the installation of hyperloops on islands off the coast may end up eliminating the need for ports, freeing up land for development.
“Ports are often sitting on valuable land,” he said. “But a hyperloop could be put on one of these lovely islands created off Dubai, the freight could be unloaded there, put on a hyperloop and shipped 20 miles inland,” he said. “All that port land could be sold off for hotels, leisure.”
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