Transporting containers at high speed through a tube closer to reality

(iStock)
(iStock)

Transporting containers at high speed through a tube to and from the Port of Hamburg is the joint vision of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG
(HHLA) and the US-based research and development company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT).

The two companies want to work together on making this idea a reality and have established a joint venture to achieve this. The collaboration was announced in Hamburg recently by Angela Titzrath, chair of HHLA’s executive board, and Dirk Ahlborn, founder and CEO of HTT, at a joint event.  

The goal of the joint venture is to develop and later market a Hyperloop transport system for shipping containers. Initially, the construction of a transfer station for testing purposes at a HHLA terminal in Hamburg and the development of a transport capsule for standard shipping containers are planned.

Behind the concept of the Hyperloop is the idea of transporting people and goods at high speed through a tube. With the help of magnetic levitation technology, the transport capsules used in the system will be sent through a tunnel, in which there is a partial air vacuum, at speeds reaching or even exceeding 1 000km/h.

A test track for transporting people and goods is currently under construction in Toulouse, France. The first test journeys in Europe are set to take place here next year.  

Titzrath said that with the Hyperloop transport system, HHLA is pursuing the goal of developing an additional component of efficient logistic mobility solutions in Germany.

Ahlborn said HHLA has a long history of innovation.

"Years before we we were talking about self-driving vehicles, containers moved autonomously in Hamburg. Together, we will develop a complete system, that not only concentrates on speed and efficiency, but also takes into account the issues ports face in daily operation."

Michael Westhagemann, Minister for Economy, Transport and Innovation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, said digitisation and technological developments are increasingly changing day-to-day work.

"In order for us to remain a leading global logistics hub in the future, we need new ideas and new business models in the logistics environment, as well as infrastructure projects such as the adjustment of the navigation channel of the river Elbe and the expansion of motorways. It is good when we can develop and test such innovations here in Hamburg."

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