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DHL helps explore future of transport with delivery of Delft Hyperloop

• Innovative prototype of TU Delft in the race for transport through tubes

• TU Delft a leading contender in SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition

• DHL manages prototype transport and contributes to development of Delft Hyperloop

f.l.: Tim Houter, captain of the TU Delft Hyperloop team, Marleen van de Kerkhof TU Delft spokesperson and Michiel Greeven, CEO, DHL Express Netherlands.
f.l.: Tim Houter, captain of the TU Delft Hyperloop team, Marleen van de Kerkhof TU Delft spokesperson and Michiel Greeven, CEO, DHL Express Netherlands.

DHL is providing support for a groundbreaking project that is exploring the future of transportation. The Delft Hyperloop, a capsule developed by TU Delft for the rapid transportation of people and goods through tubes, is on its way to California onboard a DHL freighter plane to perform the first tests as part of the Hyperloop Pod Competition organized by American entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX. In late January the team of students will defend their invention in the finals of the competition, which aims to encourage the development of transport through tubes. DHL Express is transporting a prototype of the capsule, safely encased in a specially designed flight case. A team from TU Delft is traveling with the capsule to make the final preparations on location for the finals of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.

“In our efforts to stay ahead of the curve, DHL is continuously looking at ways in which our own business could be enhanced or renewed over the near and long-term. As the quickest option available in today’s world when it comes to global door-to-door transportation, we are also happy to support any initiatives that look to push the boundaries of logistics to new levels of speed and efficiency. We therefore welcomed the opportunity to bring our capabilities, knowledge and global network to bear in support of the TU Delft team as they built a viable Hyperloop prototype. We hope that DHL has inspired them with our own logistics performance today and that we have made a contribution to their future success in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition,” said Ken Allen, CEO, DHL Express.


The Hyperloop is an idea born out of Elon Musk’s desire for faster, durable, safe and reliable transportation. Its aim is to transport people and goods at a speed of 1,200 km per hour through tubes with very low air pressure, which would in turn make the transport process more energy efficient and effective than, for example, aircraft or train travel.

Hyperloop Pod Competition

The capsules in the competition are half-shell prototypes and therefore still unable to accommodate passengers. Using light and strong carbon fiber, the Delft capsule weighs only 149 kilograms and is about 4.5 meters long and 1 meter high. The prototype can attain a speed of 400 kilometers per hour on the 1.6-kilometer test track that is being constructed adjacent to the headquarters of SpaceX in California. In longer tubes, the Delft prototype can reach up to 1,200 kilometers per hour. The Delft team is flying the flag for the Netherlands against other international competitors including the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The MIT team won the competition’s initial design phase in January, just ahead of the Delft team’s Hyperloop, which took the prestigious Pod Innovation Award and was internationally acclaimed for its innovative design.

Logistics partnership with DHL

DHL is the logistics partner of the Delft Hyperloop, taking care of all transportation needs around the project.

The dedicated intercontinental transportation move has involved a number of specific challenges: the cross-border shipping of the original, high-quality technology, built with magnets and batteries, was enabled by DHL’s specific customs expertise and in-depth knowledge of air cargo regulations. A special flight case helped ensure a safe and smooth crossing for the Delft Hyperloop prototype.

In addition to the physical transportation, DHL has also contributed to the feasibility of the concept and the selection of an economic model. Broad application of the technology for the transport of passengers and freight is an important factor for the economic viability of the hyperloop. DHL has provided the project team with relevant proprietorial data on the use of energy and the environmental impact of air and road transport, supporting the team in their efforts to benchmark the performance of the hyperloop against existing modes of transportation and build a business case for the technology.

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