Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New Intermodal Transport Technology Being Assessed by Major Container Port

DP World Testing Feasibility of Vacuum Tube Type System for Jebel Ali
Shipping News Feature
UAE – Port and logistics management group DP World has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US based Hyperloop One to explore the role of the company’s innovative pneumatic tube transport technology and its place in the future of intermodal transport. The agreement calls for the two parties to collaborate on an economic and technical feasibility study of how Hyperloop systems can improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of DP World's flagship Jebel Ali port, with an initial focus in Phase 1 on moving containers from ships docked at the port to a new inland container depot in Dubai, via the Hyperloop tube. DP World Group Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said:

“At DP World, we continually strive to think ahead and foresee change to create the most efficient, safe and profitable trade solutions. With this collaboration, we’re leading innovation in our industry once again and by testing the Hyperloop technology at Jebel Ali for cargo use, we’re taking a first step in exploring new ways of enabling trade and underlining Dubai’s commitment to innovation.

“The world is changing at a pace never seen before in our history and we intend to be part of a new revolution in transport, connecting markets and economies around the world. This is an example of leading innovation in our industry and pushing the boundaries in the delivery of goods. The potential to use these kind of technologies in emerging markets outside the UAE such as Africa and Asia with large land mass is significant.

“We are delighted to be part of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make the UAE and Dubai a centre for innovation, continuing to grow its reputation for investment in smart technologies, to make life easier for societies and people around the world.”

Hyperloop features a tubular system, either above or below ground, which is powered by linear induction motors and air compression with the cargo or passenger unit travelling millimetres above the track at speeds potentially reaching several hundred miles per hour. The feasibility study will assess the business case for using Hyperloop One technology to move freight from container ships docked at Jebel Ali to a planned DP World inland container depot and will provide preliminary details on the design of a right of way, capital and operating costs and potential project finance solutions. Rob Lloyd, CEO, Hyperloop One, said:

“Hyperloop One is pleased to extend our global footprint into the Middle East with the signing of the MOU with the United Arab Emirates and DP World. This partnership allows us to embrace the innovation of the UAE and to utilise the creativity of DP World, while expanding the variety of use cases for Hyperloop. The UAE has taken a leadership role in pushing global transportation solutions to the forefront and we believe that it is the perfect market for Hyperloop.

"By eliminating the barriers of time and distance, we believe we can increase the volume of freight DP World moves through the port using a Hyperloop to a new inland depot, which supports more revenue and profit for all stakeholders. A Hyperloop system fits very seamlessly with existing transportation corridors, minimising any impact on urban Dubai and reducing freeway congestion and emissions."

In addition to this Dubai agreement, Hyperloop One now has feasibility studies underway in Russia, Finland and Sweden, Switzerland and the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach and has already constructed several models of various component parts which are currently being assessed. The technology is rapidly being developed as a practical and economically feasible alternative to other transport modes just as the evolution of pipelines for liquid cargoes often proves the best financial option as it vies with road and ocean tankers in the various markets around the world.

Photo: An artist’s impression of how the overground, and underground, components of a Hyperloop tube and transit terminal might feature at Jebel Ali Port.