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    13,815.580
    16.790
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.480
    -0.180
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  • OTVI.USA
    13,792.000
    18.110
    0.1%
  • TLT.USA
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  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
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  • ITVI.USA
    13,815.580
    16.790
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.480
    -0.180
    -0.8%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,792.000
    18.110
    0.1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.810
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.070
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  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
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American ShipperShipping

DP World, Virgin working on futuristic transport

Terminal operator reports higher first-quarter container volumes.

    Container terminal operator DP World says it will work with Virgin Hyperloop One “to provide hyperloop-enabled cargo systems to support the fast, sustainable and efficient delivery of palletized cargo” under the brand name DP World Cargospeed.
    In 2016 Virgin Hyperloop One signed an agreement with DP World to study a hyperloop route to improve the efficiency of Jebel Ali Port and with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority to explore using hyperloop technology to connect Dubai to other parts of the United Arab Emirates.
   In December 2016 DP World announced it had made a multimillion dollar investment in Virgin Hyperloop, and in December 2017, Virgin Hyperloop One said DP World had made a further investment in the company.
   Virgin Hyperloop One is one of several companies seeking to develop the as yet unproven hyperloop technology. Its promoters describe it as a futuristic mode of passenger and freight transportation in which a pod-like vehicle would be propelled with magnetic levitation through a steel tube, with most of its air removed. Virgin estimates the pods would be carried at speeds of 670 miles per hour, but that the cost of transport would only be 50 percent more than moving cargo in a truck.
   The companies said the systems would be “designed to provide exceptional service for high-priority, on-demand goods.”
   “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,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the chairman and chief executive of DP World. “We believe in Virgin Hyperloop One’s long-term vision. They are the right partner to shape the future of global logistics, and we look forward to developing the first DP World Cargospeed systems with them.”
   Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, said, “Global growth of e-commerce is driving a dramatic shift in both consumer and business behavior. On-demand deliveries are a novelty today. Tomorrow it will be the expectation.”
   Meanwhile DP World says its terminals handled 17.6 million TEUs in the first quarter of 2018, 7.3 percent more than in the first quarter of 2017. That total includes totals from terminals that are joint ventures. 
   The company said the growth was 8.4 percent on a “like-for-like” basis that a company representative said “excludes any new terminals and normalizes for consolidation so we can compare underlying performance and ‘filter’ out acquisitions, new terminals and consolidation.” For example, DP World increased its ownership in Embraport in Brazil from one-third to 100 percent, so “to be more comparable, we factor it out in the like-for-like numbers.” 
   At terminals that DP World controls, it handled 9.2 million TEUs in the first quarter, a 6.6 percent increase over the first quarter of 2017. The increase was 6.8 percent on a like-for-like basis.
   The company said its volume growth was greater than an estimate by Drewry Maritime Research that global container throughput will grow 4.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018.
    Bin Sulayem said it was “an encouraging start to 2018 delivering ahead-of-market growth.”   
   But he also cautioned that “while the trade environment may appear more benign, geopolitical headwinds in some regions continue to pose uncertainty. Nevertheless, we still expect to grow ahead of the market and see increased contributions from our new investments.”

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.