If a Hyperloop feasibility study in the Port Jebel Ali seaport in Dubai pans out, potential velocities of up to hundreds of mph could give a new significance to the term “rapid transport.”
This monied district is where the company now called Hyperloop One is thinking about moving goods with the Hyperloop concept famously publicized by Tesla’s Elon Musk as a possible people mover in California.
If the Dubai project happens, it will be the ultra-fast system’s first commercial route.
Presently the company is working with a major port operator, DP World, to explore whether building a route there could increase its efficiency.
A planned feasibility study would examine Hyperloop’s rail cars carrying containers from ships to a separate cargo container depot. That could potentially open up space at the port for other purposes. Dubai has the “the infrastructure, regulatory movement and kind of capital in place needed” to make it happen, Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said to TechCrunch.
If the test project meets their expectations, Hyperloop One and Dubai say that they’ll build a transport network that will be partly submerged in the ocean and partly suspended in the air. If it works, the city of Dubai might extend the network to reach Fujairah, a city located on the other end of the UAE, within 10 minutes.
Elon Musk’s original concept in 2013 was a Hyperloop that would be able to make the journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about 30 minutes. Hyperloop is being developed through a network of tubes large enough for passenger or cargo pods to pass through. The pods are similar to maglev trains elevating slightly over the ground, and have the potential of speeding up to 750 mph.
In May, Hyperloop One raised $80 million in funding and conducted a test on a tubeless track in North Las Vegas. The company has been in talks for starting up other test projects, including conducting a feasibility study with Arcturan Sustainable Cargo of Los Angeles. This study is analyzing how Hyperloop One can streamline the movement of containers from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.