Virgin Hyperloop lays off 111 staffers as it abandons plans for passenger transport

The simpler world of cargo shifting is its new priority.

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Daniel Cooper
February 22, 2022 6:18 AM
A model of a cargo hyperloop (ultra-high-speed ground transportation) by UAE's company DP World is pictured at Dubai's Expo 2020, on October 10, 2021. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
GIUSEPPE CACACE via Getty Images

Virgin Hyperloop has fired 111 of its employees as it abandons the idea of making its system ready for passenger use. The Financial Times is reporting that the company is exclusively focusing on moving cargo, and has slashed almost half of its total workforce. A spokesperson confirmed to the paper that the shift in business was taking place, with supply chain issues and COVID contributing to the change.

Since its inception, the company has been developing its vacuum-tube system to carry both passengers and freight. One of the earliest concepts VH floated was an “inland port,” in which cargo vessels would put containers onto capsules that are shot inland before they’re processed. That way, the main logistics hub wouldn’t need to be beside the sea, and could instead be at the heart of a transit hub closer to customers.

It’s something that encouraged DP World, the Dubai-owned ports and logistics giant, to invest in the technology. It currently holds a majority stake in Virgin Hyperloop and in 2018 launched "Cargospeed," as a sub-brand dedicated to moving cargo. VH has, however, been in something of a spin for the last few months after former head Josh Giegel, one of two people to actually travel in a pod, quit the company. 

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Virgin Hyperloop lays off 111 staffers as it abandons plans for passenger transport