PRESS RELEASE - Major growth in online shopping increases pressure on sectors critical logistics issues, Hyperloop for E-commerce explored as a solution
- New vision paper identifies European logistics demand drivers and hyperloop opportunities.
- Retail and parcel sectors are seeking long-term, sustainable logistics solutions as e-commerce shipments soar.
- Cargoloop, a hyperloop for transporting freight in which autonomous vehicles travel through low-pressure tubes developed by Hardt, is increasingly viewed as a potential game-changer for the European logistics network.
- It allows end-to-end zero-emission delivery on a continental scale within hours, allowing brands and online sellers to supply all of Europe from one distribution centre.
Hyperloop scale-up Hardt and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences explored how hyperloop cargo solutions (Cargoloop) can help sustainably and efficiently meet surging demand for e-commerce shipments.
A new vision paper titled ‘Hyperloop for E-commerce – Sustainable, on-demand and high-speed e-commerce fulfilment enabled by Cargoloop’ was published today, a result of joined concept development and E-commerce industry consultation.
It concludes that hyperloop technology has “game-changing” potential as governments, retailers and thought leaders seek sustainable freight solutions.
Blue sky logistics solutions needed
The e-commerce sector is experiencing major growth while facing ever-increasing customer demands on service and swift delivery. To deal with this efficiently and sustainably, it is expected that in the long term new logistics solutions are required.
These challenges and the major benefits hyperloop can offer in terms of speed, reliability and sustainability prompted major e-commerce players to consider hyperloop in their exploration of future-proof delivery strategies.
Once constructed and operational, Cargoloop, a hyperloop for transporting freight in which autonomous vehicles travel through low-pressure tubes at speeds up to 700 km/h developed by Netherlands-based hyperloop scale-up Hardt, would enable end-to-end zero-emission delivery on a continental scale within hours, allowing brands and online sellers to supply all of Europe from one distribution centre.
Over the past few months, major e-commerce players gave valuable input on the Cargoloop concept. The findings are presented in ‘Hyperloop for E-commerce – Sustainable, on-demand and high-speed e-commerce fulfilment enabled by Cargoloop’.
VAT regulations fueling cross-border e-commerce
Last year alone, the paper notes, cross-border European e-commerce grew by 35%. About a quarter of all e-commerce orders now travel across borders and over long distances. This share is expected to increase by double-digit percentages in the coming years, not least because new VAT legislation is encouraging cross-border sales within the European Union.
These trends increase the pressure on online sellers because successful fulfilment generally depends on the speed of delivery. This means maintaining warehouses and distribution centres near potential buyers.
However, plots in existing logistics hot spots are limited and new build sites are unpopular with residents. A rapid and sustainable European distribution network using hyperloop technology would create new fulfilment opportunities for online sellers.
Walther Ploos van Amstel, economist and Lector City Logistics at the University of Applied Science of Amsterdam, explained: “A Cargoloop network would allow businesses to consolidate their stock in one European warehouse rather than the trend we’re currently seeing of opening multiple warehouses to be able to meet customer demand for same or next day delivery. This drastically reduces stock levels as well as logistics real estate needed to support the online market.”
The first step: Cargoloop Holland
Earlier this year, a public-private feasibility study focusing on a wide range of industries in the Noord and Zuid-Holland area was announced. This Cargoloop Holland pre-feasibility study aims to identify a first Cargoloop route. The results are due to be published in October.
Cargoloop will subsequently be tested and validated in the European Hyperloop Center in Groningen during 2023. Construction preparations are currently ongoing. As soon as these tests are completed, the system will be ready for commercial implementation.
An open hyperloop network for Euro freight
Hardt envisions the hyperloop network for cargo as an open one, enabling any shipper or logistics company to use it. When constructed, it would allow same-day delivery across the continent. Vehicles travelling directly from any origin to any destination can carry hundreds of parcels and form platoons, resulting in a capacity of hundreds of thousands of parcels per hour through the same tube.
A network of Cargoloop hubs, strategically located on the edge of cities, would connect to sustainable last-mile delivery options, creating an end-to-end zero-emission home delivery network spanning the continent.
At present, supply chain delays, and thus the reliability of delivery, are largely dependent on traffic levels and weather conditions. These are elements that a Cargoloop system is immune to as there is no crossing traffic and the tube environment protects the infrastructure from all external influences such as weather conditions. Also, the vehicles travel autonomously, leaving no room for human error.
Stan de Caluwe, Business Developer Cargo at Hardt Hyperloop, said: “The transport sector alone is responsible for about 30% of CO2 emissions in the developed world. With the exponential increase in online shopping, the e-commerce sector is responsible for a growing share of this. The solution for decarbonization, especially when it comes to longer distances, is dependent on innovation. A hyperloop for freight such as Cargoloop may very well be the best option.”
The vision paper study ‘Hyperloop for E-commerce – Sustainable, on-demand and high-speed e-commerce fulfilment enabled by Cargoloop’ is co-financed by the European Commission within the H2020 Planet project.
Hardt Hyperloop has produced a video about the Hyperloop for Ecommerce which can be watched below, and accessed here.
Hyperloop is a new mode of high-speed transport in which autonomous vehicles travel through low-pressure tubes. Hyperloop is faster and more energy-efficient than both airplanes and high-speed trains. Hyperloop meets the growing demand for sustainable and affordable high-speed transportation of freight and people.
About Hardt Hyperloop
Hardt is a hyperloop company that was founded in 2016, with its headquarters situated in the Netherlands. The founders of Hardt are part of the team that won the global SpaceX Hyperloop competition in 2017, organized by Elon Musk. Now existing of a diverse team of 35+ FTE from all over the world, and many more specialists at partner companies involved, the team is working tirelessly to bring this new transportation system to market while addressing all aspects concerning the implementation of an international hyperloop network.
Hardt established the first European full-scale hyperloop test facility in 2019 and is currently realizing the European Hyperloop Center in the Dutch province of Groningen, which will be Europe’s first high-speed hyperloop test facility.
Hardt is the initiator of the Hyperloop Development Program, a public-private partnership dedicated to developing hyperloop as a high-speed, zero-emissions transport solution that could play a significant role in the climate transition, while simultaneously deliver economic growth.
Hardt Hyperloop's partners include i.a.: BAM, Schiphol, Deutsche Bahn, EIT InnoEnergy, IHC, Koolen Industries, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Schiphol, Tata Steel.
The Centres of Expertise of the Amsterdam University of Applied Science are sustainable, action-oriented research and innovation partnerships. Universities, companies, governments, and other public and social organizations jointly research, innovate, experiment, and invest for the benefit of future-proofing higher professional education and professional practices, as well as to accelerate economic and social transitions.