Hyperloop and HHLA to Trial Container-by-Tube System
Hyperloop, Elon Musk's high-speed-rail startup, has announced a new partnership with Hamburger Hafen und Logistik Aktiengesellschaft (HHLA) to explore ways to move shipping containers to and from inland sites with Hyperloop's maglev-in-a-tube technology.
Initially, the JV plans to build a transfer station for testing purposes at an HHLA terminal in Hamburg and develop a Hyperloop transport capsule for standard shipping containers.
“With the Hyperloop transport system, HHLA is pursuing the goal of developing an additional component of efficient logistic mobility solutions in Germany," said Angela Titzrath, chairwoman of HHLA’s executive board. "We want to employ innovative approaches to make a contribution towards relieving the strain on the transport infrastructure in and around the Port of Hamburg."
Hyperloop aims to transport people and goods at high speed through a tube. With the help of magnetic levitation technology, the transport capsules used in the system will be sent through a tunnel in which there is a partial vacuum, at very high speeds. A test track for transporting people and goods is currently under construction in Toulouse, France, and the first test journeys in Europe are set to take place there next year.
Cargo services are certainly on Hyperloop's agenda: the firm's board is chaired by Ahmed bin Sulayem, the head of leading container terminal operator DP World. In April, Hyperloop announced a technology partnership with DP World called "DP World Cargospeed," an international brand for hyperloop-enabled cargo systems for palletized cargoes. The firms said that DP World Cargospeed systems will deliver freight at the speed of flight and closer to the cost of trucking, ideal for time sensitive priority cargoes.
The firm's previous chairman, serial entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, stepped down recently following disagreements with Saudi Arabia. Hyperloop announced plans to bring its technology to the kingdom earlier this year, but the government of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pulled out of the deal in October after coming under criticism from Branson.