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Thu 18 Aug 2016 01:58 PM

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Jebel Ali Hyperloop would cost '100s of millions of dollars', says CEO

Project in Dubai would involve creating 30km transport link from Jebel Ali Port to a new inland container depot

Jebel Ali Hyperloop would cost '100s of millions of dollars', says CEO

The Hyperloop project currently being considered for Dubai's Jebel Ali port would cost “100s of millions of dollars”, according to the CEO of Hyperloop One.

DP World announced on Monday that it has signed an agreement with Hyperloop One, a US company working to develop pioneering technology invented by engineer Elon Musk, to study the possibility of using Hyperloop transportation technology at Jebel Ali port in Dubai.

Hyperloop is a tube-based transport system that can move compartments or ‘pods’ of people to and from their destination at speeds of up to 1,220 kilometres per hour.

Hyperloop One has spent months working to bring the technology to the Middle East following tests in the US, claiming that it could cut journey times between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to between eight and 15 minutes.

Under the agreement, the two parties will conduct a feasibility study on how Hyperloop could be used to increase the “efficiency, profitability and sustainability” of Jebel Ali port.

Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One, said the project in Dubai would involve creating a transportation link of 30 kilometres, from Jebel Ali Port to a new inland container depot close to the airport at Al Maktoum international airport, which would include using tubes above and below ground.

“The primary objective of the MoU is to work together, to clearly understand the economic benefits we can drive by increasing the capacity of the port, allowing it to handle an ever-increasing quantity of containers, to move them to a different location inland and to be able to do the handling and redistribution of those containers away from the dockside in a new inland distribution centre,” Lloyd said, speaking on Dubai Eye’s Business Breakfast show.

He said it would have the added benefit of reducing congestion, by lowering the number of trucks in Dubai, and in turn have a positive impact on emissions.

Lloyd estimated that the cost of project would run into the “100s of millions of dollars”.

“We will obviously be studying the economics of what that system will look like,” Lloyd said.

“Fortunately, this particular route is straightforward. We'll be studying alternatives but we think there are very simple ways to make this happen. We do believe that at the end of this study we may find the project in Dubai that could become the first hyperloop in the world and obviously we're very excited about that.”

Lloyd said the plan was to complete the study in 90 days, before looking to take it to the next step.

In the meantime, he said Hyperloop One is starting a project to build its own prototype at is manufacturing facilty in Nevada.

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