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First Hyperloop in Middle East or India seen by 2024-25

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
Filed on January 17, 2020 | Last updated on January 17, 2020 at 06.16 am
First Hyperloop in Middle East or India seen by 2024-25

(Photo by Ryan Lim)

Hyperloop will "revolutionise" the Gulf region, as cities will be connected in minutes.

Virgin Hyperloop One will transform the Middle East.

Figure this: It can connect all GCC cities within an hour, could operate completely unplugged from the grid with zero-direct emissions, and will be most-energy efficient means of transportation - all the aspects of which fall in line with the vision of the UAE.

While it is believed that India will be the first country to host the world's first Hyperloop, there is a decent chance that Middle Eastern countries may do so before, the Virgin Hyperloop One managing director for the Middle East and India, Harj Dhaliwal, told Khaleej Times.

"We are working here in the UAE, the US, Saudi Arabia, and India. My view is that India will be the first operation for Hyperloop. India is more advanced than the Middle East now, but, the Middle East has a tendency to move decisions very quickly. It's difficult to say who will be first, but certainly by 2024 or 2025 there will be an operational Hyperloop," Dhaliwal said on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

He said that Hyperloop will "revolutionise" the Gulf region, as cities will be connected in minutes - not hours - thereby leveraging resources to grow together.

"Our vision is to connect the GCC. The whole of the GCC works as one economic zone. With the ability to go from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh in 48 minutes, and Riyadh to Jeddah in 46 minutes, and from there to Neom in 40 minutes, Hyperloop would just revolutionise this region."

Dhaliwal underlined that Hyperloop can be powered by a zero-emission network, completely unplugged from the grid and is the most efficient mode of transport.

"We are trying to be energy-neutral, which means using renewable sources like solar and advanced photovoltaics technology," he said.

Dhaliwal added that in an age when e-commerce is driving on-demand behaviour, Hyperloop will make a dent in the freight and logistics industry.

"We are 10 times more energy efficient than aircraft. We are 40 per cent more energy-efficient than the fastest bullet train on earth, with twice the speed. If we look at what's used per passenger seat per km travelled across all modes of transport, we are the most energy efficient. For the first time, we will carry 16,000 to 20,000 passengers per hour per direction."

Logistics industry set for disruption

"We have got DP World, who is large investor in our business. DP World is very focused on not only capacity travel but also for cargo and logistics of the future."

He noted e-commerce has raised expectation of consumers, where it's no longer acceptable to have goods delivered in weeks and months but days and hours.

"What will this do to logistics companies of future," he asked. "We live in an on-demand world. We need an on-demand transportation system to capture that. We are going to disrupt the logistics industry in the future. That's why we have such a strong, capable partner working with us."


Ashwani Kumar

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