On Sunday, DP World and Los Angeles-based Virgin Hyperloop One launched their partnership, DP World Cargospeed – a venture intended to spearhead the development of hyperloop technology in the Middle East for the transportation of cargo.
The high-speed, low-friction trains still very much in the conceptual stage at DP World Cargospeed will run above ground at speeds comparable to airfreight transportation, but at a potentially much lower price due to anticipated energy savings.
“The global growth of e-commerce is driving a dramatic shift in both consumer and business behavior,” said Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, who was in attendance. “On-demand deliveries are a novelty today. Tomorrow it will be the expectation.”
The event was hosted on the historic ship and hotel “Queen Elizabeth II” in Dubai, and attended by industry members and global leaders, including Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World’s group chairman and CEO.
“We have made a significant investment in Virgin Hyperloop One because we see the need for a hyperloop-enabled cargo network to support rapid, on-demand deliveries globally,” said Bin Sulayem.
Outside of the cargo world, hyperloop technology has been in the news recently for its potential to change passenger transit. Elon Musk’s innovative construction/technology outfit, facetiously named the Boring Company, has plans to implement infrastructure for routes that would connect major U.S. cities, shrinking what are now hours-long flight times to minutes via the hyperloop. In January, the company began conversations with Los Angeles city government about building a 6.5 mile underground hyperloop tunnel to address the city’s traffic problem. Each project is at various stages of development.
The investment required to implement these systems runs into the billions of dollars, but the forecasted timeline is not in the distant future. Last August, Hyperloop One told Air Cargo World that their first systems would be operational by 2021.