By Sam Bridge
New Ministry of Investment awards licence award after deal to conduct the world's first hyperloop study on a national level in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s newly established Ministry of Investment has presented Virgin Hyperloop One with a trade licence, marking a significant milestone for the California-based developer of futuristic transport technology.
The award was made at the US-Saudi Arabia Business Forum in Washington DC organised by the Ministry, Invest Saudi, the US Chamber of Commerce and the US Commercial Service.
The issuing of the trade licence follows a recent announcement with the Ministry of Transport and the Public Transport Authority in Saudi Arabia to conduct the world’s first hyperloop study on a national level.
Under the agreement, Virgin Hyperloop One will examine viable routes, expected demand, anticipated costs and explore socio-economic impacts.
Dr Majed Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Media, presented the licence to Tim Wilkinson, executive director, Strategy and Growth at Virgin Hyperloop One in the presence of Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States.
Wilkinson said: “Receiving the trade licence from the Ministry of Investment... marks a significant stepping stone in our commitment to Saudi Arabia. From here we intend to establish a permanent presence that would better enable us to invest in resources in the region and run our local operations.
"The move marks important progress towards the commercialisation of hyperloop technology and could propel the country to the forefront of hyperloop development worldwide.”
Last year, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and Virgin Hyperloop One unveiled results of a study to create a Virgin Hyperloop One Centre of Excellence, which would include an integrated test track, and explored the feasibility of creating a manufacturing center and operating facility.
The findings highlighted the potential to create more than 124,000 high-tech local jobs while driving an estimated $4 billion increase in Saudi Arabia’s GDP by 2030.