Decoding the Future of Global Shipping With Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence in shipping enables new possibilities for improving logistics and operations.

The global economy is rendered at the verge of collapsing with the advent of COVID 19. The industries are grappling with an unprecedented situation, where the future of trading is unforeseeable. Globally, the supply and demand chain amongst various sectors bore the maximum brunt of the pandemic. With restriction all over the global trade, the possibility of supply-chain operations is bleak. Experts say that instead of investing over larger container vessels, companies should focus on investing in smaller regional feeder ships. Instead of focusing on long route shipping, it has become necessary to focus on smaller roots.


In an interview with the, Michael Bell, the professor of Ports and Maritime Logistics at the University of Sydney, states the necessity of automation and digitalisation in the global supply chain, especially with shipping and ports to reduce the cost of Manual labour. 


Thus the prospect of Artificial Intelligence in Shipping is vast, one that would revolutionise the way global supply chain functions. 


Installing AI tools in the Ports 


The AI-tools functions without any human intervention. Owing to COVID19, the manual labour work amongst the ports has become limited. That’s why it is becoming difficult to inspect either the port or the vessel before the ship docks from the port. 


For example, the recent incident of leaking ship in Mauritius could have been easily avoided if an earlier inspection could detect the oil leakage. With the deployment of AI such unfortunate incidents can be avoided as it allows remote inspection of ships and ports with the use of technology.


Another example of AI in vessels is the data infrastructure of ABB Turbocharging in collaboration with Kongsberg for accelerating the digital applications and services for vessels. With the help of this data infrastructure, analysis of the engines will be faster and feasible, and automation with the help of sensors will give transparency so that data can be shared without any threat to security. This will give insights about engine performance and will reduce the risk of engine failure and mishap for the future. 


The ports of Singapore, Rotterdam and Hamburg are already deploying AI tools for improving operations. Applying AI tool in the port would also automate the deployment of vessels, utilization of baseline, and fuel usage.


Digitalising the Paperwork


Like any other industry, digital payments of bills would reduce the paperwork between the supplier and buyer and will also save time. With the application of machine learning, the tasks can be automated in the ports and docks. For example, automation tools can be applied for reducing the crew in ports, for improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness.


Improved Decision Making


With the help of Artificial Intelligence, patterns can be identified in the logistics. As logistics is the part of supply, chain, management and plans, implements and controls, the storage of goods, and service, any fluctuation in its pattern would enable the Supply and demand manager to identify the reason behind it. With the help of AI, this will enhance decision making and will improve the workflow. 


With the help of AI models, the operating costs can also be reduced with increased work efficiency. For example, Hongkong’s shipping line OOCL after partnering with Microsoft‘s world-class centre MSRA, in the year 2018, was able to save operating costs worth US$10 million a year. 


Improving Cybersecurity in the vessel


There have been several untold stories where a cyber attack in the vessels paralysed the government. The Code Crashing of Maersk Shipping solution is one such incident that is unforgettable. It crippled the ports and frozen the corporations. It was a cyberattack, in June 2017, by NotPetya cyber ransomware virus that cost the company more than US$250 million. 


It was the first cyberattack in any vessel. But it is not the last. With the geopolitical landscape changing, such attacks are possible. Thus for outsmarting such cyber-attacks, many AI solutions like Darktrace are enabling protection against unpredictable attacks across industries. The user is notified about a suspicious threat within the network traffic, thus preventing future cyberattacks. 


With the future being unpredictable, the application of Artificial Intelligence in the Shipping industry would provide an opportunity to boost back the global supply and chain. 

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