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Anyone knows if people are studying things like elon musk's hyperloop to revolutionnize goods transport ?

Studying a hypothetical high-speed train given that no existing high-speed trains are used primarily for freight? (And that air freight is widely used.) I doubt it. High-value goods can already be delivered quickly and low-value goods can be delivered quite inexpensively. Container ships have, in fact, revolutionized goods transport.

i would have compared hyperloop more to something like pipelines than trains..

A pipeline is pretty much the complete opposite of what you'd want to ship discrete goods. Pipelines work well for fluids because they're a homogenous liquid that have to be loaded and unloaded in discrete chunks to ship by train. With discrete goods on the other hand, the whole virtue of containers is that their content don't need to be loaded or unloaded to be inserted into a transportation system. And if a "pipeline" could take an entire preloaded container in some form? Well, we're back to something that looks and acts basically like a high-speed train.

Except a train is using rails. Because hyperloop containers are in a sort of vacuum, they have extremely low friction.

Ships still consume oil, and whenever one of those super cargo crash in the ocean, it's an environmental nightmare. And even when they don't, they're still polluting a lot ( i know, not that much compared to other means and the amount of goods they carry).

There's probably still a way to carry goods from china to europe in a more environment friendly way...

> There's probably still a way to carry goods from china to europe in a more environment friendly way...

Maybe a modern unmanned sailing ship would fit.

There have been various attempts to reduce fuel consumption by using sails, e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/science/earth/cargo-ship-d...

It probably gets less useful as ships get bigger though and there's a long history of trying this sort of thing without a whole lot of success. Modern systems do have better automation however.

The most important metric in this type of transport is efficiency (i.e., mass delivered / energy consumed), not speed. I can't imagine anything more efficient than cargo ships in this case.

At scale, mass tends to be less critical than bulk, and bulk is the primary unit of containerized shipping. Density, tends to correlate to efficient transport.

The cargo container did revolutionize goods transport: http://nautil.us/issue/3/in-transit/the-box-that-built-the-m...

From the article:

> Circling the world four or five times a year, it can move 1.4 million tons of cargo annually. That’s the equivalent of 1.8 billion iPads.

Such a strange comparison.

Not when the writer is secretly on Apple's payroll. /s

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