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Maglev land bridge

Ships are the only practical way to move large amounts of bulk material between continents, and often, the most cost effective way to move material from one point to another on the same continent. Unit cost for bulk transport by ship is approximately one cent per ton mile, compared to several cents per ton mile by railroad, and several tens of cents per ton mile by truck.

To reduce the distance that ships have to travel, canals have been built at key spots. The most famous of these are the Panama Canal, intended to eliminate passage around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, and the Suez Canal, intended to eliminate passage around The Cape of Good Hope at the tip of South Africa.

While these canals cut off thousands of miles from shipping routes, economics are forcing the use of giant ships which are too large to pass through the canals. These ships then have to go the long way around, increasing cost and fuel consumption.

Maglev can rapidly move materials at low cost across land portions of a shipping route, eliminating the need to travel thousands of extra miles. Using maglev, a container ship would unload its cargo at one end of the land portion, or "land bridge". The containers would then rapidly move via a M-2000 maglev guideway to the far end of the land bridge, where they would be loaded onto a second ship, to continue to their final destination.

One possible location for a maglev land bridge across the Isthmus of Tehuantepac in Mexico. The Tehuantepac land bridge is an alternative to the Panama Canal, which has reached its limit, both with respect to the size and to number of ships that it can handle.

In addition to eliminating the trip around Cape Horn, the land bridge would enable more efficient shipping. For example, a load of containers shipped from a given European port could be divided and then loaded on ships bound for different ports in the Far East, after crossing the Tehuantepac land bridge.

The Suez Canal is even more limited than the Panama Canal, and is a leading candidate for a maglev land bridge. An even more attractive candidate is a 5000 mile maglev land bridge across Siberia. Freight containers could travel between Europe and the Far East in less than a day, and for much less cost than a 15,000 mile, month long trip by ship.

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