Q&A: DP World Chief on Hyperloop


In the below Q&A, Group Chairman and CEO of perhaps the most famous and forward-thinking trade enabler in the world, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who is also the Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, speaks with Port Technology on his role in bringing Hyperloop technology to the world.


PTI: What are the main economic benefits of using hyperloop to transport cargo?

As a global smarter trade enabler, we believe that a hyperloop-enabled DP World Cargospeed won’t just get goods from A-to-B faster and cheaper, it will revolutionize supply chain-manufacturing.

A hyperloop-enabled supply chain can help reduce finished goods inventory by 25%, cut required warehouse space by 25%, and shrink inventory lead times.

This can add up to far more than the savings in transportation costs, especially for high value and time-sensitive products.


Port of Jebel Ali, Dubai. Credit: DP World 


PTI: What does DP World stand to benefit from the Cargospeed project with Virgin Hyperloop One?

As an industry, we are not poised to meet the demand of the coming decades. Today, on-demand deliveries are novel. Tomorrow, they will be the expectation. E-commerce is set to grow to US$4 trillion globally by 2020 and is driving a dramatic shift in both consumer and business behavior.

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.

We believe in Virgin Hyperloop One’s long-term vision and they are the right partner to shape the future of global logistics. We look forward to developing the first DP World Cargospeed systems with them.


A recent Port Technology technical paper explored gaps in the global supply chain and how they can be fixed 


The market for express and parcel freight is set to grow to $516 Billion by 2025– this expanding market is currently limited by airline/airport capacity challenges.

DP World Cargospeed can deliver freight at the speed of flight and closer to the cost of trucking.

Hyperloop can serve as an integrated logistics backbone, supporting the fast, sustainable and efficient delivery of palletized cargo. Deliveries can be completed in hours versus days with unprecedented reliability.

It will expand freight transportation capacity by connecting with existing modes of road, rail, ports, and air transport, and will provide greater connectivity with manufacturing parks, economic zones, distribution centers, and regional urban centers.


An exclusive PTI Inight looked into how Dubai and the rest of the UAE is securing its place in global trade 


PTI: How much do you anticipate it will cost to transport a TEU’s worth of cargo through Hyperloop?

Our focus is on supporting fast, on-demand, direct delivery of palletized cargo, not TEU. 

DP World Cargospeed is designed to provide exceptional service for high-priority, on-demand goods at the freight at the speed of flight and closer to the cost of trucking.



PTI: A big question in the maritime industry at the moment is the viability of the Arctic as a shipping route. With its high speed capability and limited emissions output, is it possible to imagine Hyperloop being used in that region?

It is certainly possible. DP World Cargospeed systems are 100% electric, with zero direct emissions.  The system can be built above or below ground, and even underwater.


PTI recently explored the viability of Arctic shipping in an exclusive insight 


PTI: Is there a type of cargo that is particularly well suited to being transported by Hyperloop? For example, is it feasible that commodities such as oil, gold and gas will one day be transported via Hyperloop?

We’re focused on high-priority, on-demand goods – fresh food, medical supplies, electronics – the same goods often delivered via air. Hyperloop doesn’t make sense for carrying things like coal and other bulk goods which can be on the back of a truck/train for weeks with little impact. Air cargo currently accounts for less than 1% of world trade tonnage, yet 35% of world trade value is carried by air. This is an expanding market that is currently limited by capacity challenges.


Where do you anticipate Hyperloop technology will be in 10 years’ time? Could we see it become a standard mode of cargo and passenger transportation within a generation?

We believe it will be much earlier than that. Leaders, at the local and national level, are committed to solving the transportation challenges of the 21st century. We are already working with the highest level of governments – in the U.S., India, Europe, and the UAE – to build a safe, viable, regulated mass transportation system in years, not decades.

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