Saudi investment ministry presents VHO with trade licence at US forum - GulfToday

Saudi investment ministry presents Virgin Hyperloop One with trade licence at US forum


Dr Majed Al-Qasabi and Tim Wilkinson at the US-Saudi Arabia Business Forum.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

Today Saudi Arabia’s newly established Ministry of Investment (formerly SAGIA) presented Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO), the category leader in hyperloop development, with a trade licence at the US-Saudi Arabia Business Forum that was held in Washington in the United States.

Organised by the Ministry, Invest Saudi, the US Chamber of Commerce and the US Commercial Service, the issuing marks a significant milestone for the California-based developer in the firm’s pursuit to commercialise the technology.

Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Media, presented the licence to Tim Wilkinson, Executive Director, Strategy and Growth at VHO in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States, John Abizaid, US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce.

Commenting on receiving the licence, Wilkinson, said, “Receiving the trade licence from the Ministry of Investment, which has been a very smooth and swift process, marks a significant steppingstone in our commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From here we intend to establish a permanent presence that would better enable us to invest in resources in the region and run our local operations.

The move marks important progress towards the commercialisation of hyperloop technology and could propel the country to the forefront of Hyperloop development worldwide.”

The issuing of the trade licence follows a recent announcement with the Ministry of Transport and the Public Transport Authority in Saudi Arabia to conduct the world’s first hyperloop study on a national level.

Under the agreement, VHO will examine viable routes, expected demand, anticipated costs and explore socio-economic impacts. In addition, Hyperloop is expected to create jobs and add to the local GDP and furthers the exchange of specialised knowledge, while creating the infrastructure for a connected Saudi Arabia.

A year prior, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and VHO unveiled results of a study to create a Virgin Hyperloop One Center of Excellence, which would include an integrated test track, and explored the feasibility of creating a manufacturing centre and operating facility.

The findings highlighted VHO’s potential to drive domestic value by adding to the creation of more than 124,000 high-tech local jobs, further supporting the technology sector by incorporating advances in robotics and AI while driving an estimated $4 billion increase in Saudi Arabia’s GDP by 2030.

In the same year, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and VHO have partnered to spur the country’s technology and transport development.

Signed at the 2019 Future Investment Initiative, the US Hyperloop company and the Kingdom’s leading private research institution have committed to working together to further support the development of the country’s technology and transportation sector.

VHO entered into a technology partnership with the MiSK Foundation in 2018, through which the company welcomed 20 Saudi students to its Los Angeles Innovation Campus.

The purpose of the partnership was to create a connection between VHO and young, aspiring Saudi students that will spur innovation.

Virgin Hyperloop One is the only company in the world that has successfully tested its Hyperloop technology at scale, launching the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years.

The company successfully operated a full-scale Hyperloop vehicle using electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation under near-vacuum conditions, realising a fundamentally new form of transportation that is faster, safer, cheaper, and more sustainable than existing modes.

The company is now working with governments, partners, and investors around the world to make Hyperloop a reality in years, not decades.

They currently have projects under way in the Middle East, US, and India.

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