A couple of hundreds of years ago, when men were riding on horsebacks through unpaved dirt trails, they realized the need of having roads and highways to make commerce efficient. In this 21st century, visionaries facing travel issue and roadblocks looks for a similar opportunity to transform and modernize the way we transport around the world-giving birth to a new high-speed transportation technology Hyperloop.
The futuristics mobility expected to be a gamechanger in passenger transport was Inspired by Robert H. Goddard’s vactrain concept in 1904 and was commercialized in 2012 after Elon Musk shared his thoughts on creating a “fifth mode of transport” called hyperloop at a conference in California.
Swiftly in motion at 750 miles per hour, the transportation technology first proved itself as a revolutionizing concept for ground transportation in 2020, when DP World and Virgin Hyperloop successfully carried passengers in Hyperloop for the first time, but it is an innovation that could also have broad implications for cargo and the supply chain.
Now after more than 7 years, and a successful test of passenger transportation, the question remains, is the hyperloop the redefining force for the future of logistics?
The world “was not poised to meet the demand of the coming decades” and the rapid increase of e-commerce was straining the complex supply chain. The congestion at shipping lanes and growing eCommerce forced trade enablers to search for new ways of transporting cargo.
This was further accelerated when we were struck by the pandemic, which halted operations across modes and gave an unexpected boost to the eCommerce industry.
Pre-pandemic predictions suggested e-commerce would be worth $4 trillion to the global economy by 2020. Statista predicted in August 2021 that E-commerce will be worth $6.54 trillion by 2023.
This pushed supply chains to look for a newer, quicker, and more sustainable means of transferring goods.
Hyperloop has the potential to transport cargo to some of the most hostile terrains cleanly and seamlessly, making it an interesting area for supplies and logistics players to explore.
The all-electric hyperloop with zero direct emissions will address three key challenges of transport today – sustainability, cost, and speed.
While today’s on-demand deliveries are novel, they are likely to become an expectation, shortly, which will require faster trade to grow continuously and existing systems are outdated.
Hyperloop plans to change the face of delivery forever and keep up with the faster trade. It delivers cargo at the speed of light and closer to the cost of trucking.
With hyperloop, transport can take hours versus days. We have the opportunity to expand the capacity for high-priority, on-demand goods typically served by air — fresh food, medical supplies, electronics, and more. We could also expand freight transportation capacity, connecting with existing modes of road, rail, ports, and air transport.
Moreover, a Hyperloop-enabled supply chain could potentially reduce finished goods inventory by 25% and cut required warehouse space by the same margin, a benefit that could lead to more than transportation costs, with potential benefits being seen in supply chain quality and visibility.
The potential of Hyperloop is undoubtedly exciting and has attracted the attention of not only logistics organizations but also the governments looking to support the industry and solve the transportation challenges.
In India, the Government of Maharashtra accorded the Mumbai-Pune ultra-fast Hyperloop India project a public infrastructure status. Virgin Hyperloop also joined hands with Bangalore International Airports Limited (BIAL) to conduct a feasibility study for a proposed hyperloop corridor from BLR Airport, with a focus on technical, economic, and route feasibility.
In another joint venture, Virgin Hyperloop also signed an MoU with the State of Punjab’s Transport Department in December 2019 and hopes to expand on their relationship with Punjab as they continue exploring opportunities in northern India independent of their work in the western and southern regions of the country.
The extent of Hyperloop’s success is expected to define future trends in trade, logistics, and transportation,