Containers on new roads

Transporting containers through a tube using magnetic levitation technology – HHLA is working together with US company HyperloopTT to make this vision a reality. They established “HyperPort Cargo Solutions” (HCS) to collaborate on the development of key components for a Hyperloop transport system. The new technology is to be marketed worldwide in the port and transport logistics sector. (Photo: Mormedi 2021 Proprietary information)

Following a two-year development period, the technical concept for the transport capsules and HyperPort™ is now ready. A virtual demonstration of HyperPort and the transport capsules was shown at the ITS Congress 2021. HyperPort was developed based on current industry standards and is a plug-and-play solution for large port operators around the world.

The concept makes it possible to transport containerised goods at high speed over hundreds of kilometres. The system can move approximately 2,800 containers per day in a closed operating environment – without traffic or environmental influences and in an efficient and safe manner. The traffic system, which is powered by electricity, operates with a high level of energy efficiency and would help to significantly reduce the use of high-emission transportation (for example by truck).

Joint development work

However, the course ahead is still long. The initial plan is to design a product concept and the roadmap for a commercial prototype. For this, a virtual demonstrator for the HyperPort was presented at the International Fair ITS in Hamburg in 2021. The demonstrator illustrates the handling process in a HyperPort, including integration into work processes with autonomous vehicles, among other things.

By developing the Hyperloop transport system, HHLA is promoting novel logistical mobility solutions. As the “Gateway to the future”, the company’s goal is to help relieve the pressure on transport infrastructure with innovative solutions. Its partner HyperloopTT is already an expert in Hyperloop technology: its team of 800 engineers is developing Hyperloop concepts with 40 partners worldwide.

A new mode of transport that offers many benefits

The joint idea behind HyperPort Cargo Solutions: Hyperloop will complement rail and road as modes of hinterland transport. In theory, the further development of magnetic levitation technology has many benefits:

  • Extremely fast mode of transport
  • Secure transport of containers, as there are no external influences
  • Environmentally friendly transport with low emissions
  • New mode of transport relieves pressure on rail, road and air network

Energy efficient, even with large volumes: there is no energy consumption once levitation phase is reached; energy is recovered when brakes are applied

Sustainability strategy Balanced Logistics

It is our aspiration to combine ecological, social and economic interests in order to make our company future-proof. We underline this with our "Balanced Logistics" sustainability strategy.

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A convincing basic concept

Until now, the Hyperloop concept has been based on the idea of transporting people at high speed through a tube. Using magnetic levitation technology, transport capsules are sent through a tunnel with a partial vacuum. If people can be transported using the Hyperloop system – which is now feasible, as tests on trial routes have shown – it should also be possible to use the system to transport goods. And because containers are globally standardised, they are particularity suitable. Goods that have already been loaded into containers do not need to be reloaded for Hyperloop transport.

Unlike with the transportation of people, the focus of “HyperPort Cargo Solutions” is not on speed but rather on the greatest possible throughput (transport units per hour) and on low-energy transport.

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By the way: Elon Musk is not involved

Tesla founder Elon Musk is involved neither with this project nor with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. However, he did come up with the basic idea of the Hyperloop. When Elon Musk published a white paper on this technology in August 2013, the concept entered the public domain and could be used by anyone. Since then, many independent project teams have been advancing the development and implementation of Hyperloop technology.

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Frank Busse


Vice President Europe

Phone +49 40 74008-108