Tuesday, October 23, 2018

As Branson Quits New Modal Transport Group Controversy Rages

Khashoggi Affair Linked to Hyperloop Boss Resigning
Shipping News Feature
UAE – Oh what a tangled web we weave. Following the resignation of Sir Richard Branson as Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One (VH1) with a statement that the company 'needs a more hands-on Chair', there is controversy that his departure has more to do with the recent events at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey than the construction of the revolutionary modal transport system with potential to carry passengers and freight at speeds up to up to 300 metres per second.

Before the recent Saudi statement confirming that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the Embassy Branson decided he would pause any discussions with the country whilst the affair was investigated. This led to the Saudi’s apparent termination of the contract leaving matters in disarray, with Dubai’s DP World as the main shareholder to pick up the pieces. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sualyem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, commented:

“As the first major investor in Jeddah port 20 years ago we are committed to supporting the Kingdom’s effort to grow its economy. Trade and infrastructure are key pillars in enabling growth supported by technology and automation and we are working closely with the Saudi government to explore new opportunities for development. As partners with them, we are committed to supporting the Saudi Vision 2030 launched last year by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

”We aim to add value to nations for the long term, delivering innovative and sustainable solutions for the benefit of all. DP World is the largest shareholder in Virgin Hyperloop One because we see the need for a hyperloop-enabled cargo network under the CargoSpeed brand, launched earlier this year, to support rapid, on-demand deliveries globally. This technology serves our vision to enable smarter trade globally.”

Photo: Happier days as Branson poses with Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince now suspected by many of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.