Businesses are growing in confidence about incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) in shipping operations to predict weather changes, assist in terminal operations, and find optimal routes.
E-commerce and retail businesses are already leveraging AI in logistics and supply chain operations. AI has several applications in logistics like demand prediction, automated warehouses, and autonomous vehicles. These applications and the success of eCommerce and retail organizations in reaping AI benefits are encouraging shipping companies to follow the same. According to a survey, 83% of shipping companies are planning to invest in AI or increase their investment. Incorporation of AI in shipping can lead to significant applications at terminals and within ships.
The Impact of AI in Shipping Operations
AI systems can prove to be useful to shipping organizations in assisting end-to-end operations, right from tracking and finding shipment routes to handling containers at terminals.
Accurate Weather Prediction
Changing weather conditions can result in delayed container shipment. Hence, predicting weather accurately becomes important in shipping operations. AI systems can perform predictive analytics based on historical data and make accurate weather predictions. Shipping organizations can use such weather prediction to select the best time for shipment delivery and eradicate delays to enhance customer satisfaction. AI prediction also helps businesses to predict when their shipment will arrive at the port. They can consider factors like weather conditions and congestion in shipping ports to determine variations in shipping time.
Automated Terminal Operations
AI robots have the potential to take over several monotonous and heavy human tasks. With the help of computer vision, they can automate container handling and decking systems for report generation. For instance, cameras can click images of containers and computer vision systems can count the number of containers from images. Also, businesses can deploy AI robots to empty containers. With computer vision, AI systems can inspect the quality of the goods that have arrived. They can match product shape, size, and color with previous product data to detect any damaged or defective products. This can help shipping businesses to deliver only the best products to their customers to enhance trust and loyalty.
Optimal Navigation Routes
Navigation is an important area in shipping with the potential for AI intervention. Once an order is placed to ship, shipping companies have to discuss with navigating officers and helmsmen to find the best route for travelling. AI systems can optimize voyage planning by recommending safe and optimal routes based on recent malfunctions in water bodies and environmental information. Also, computer vision can help detect other ships near portals and alert helmsman to avoid collisions.
The shipping industry involves greater risks and uncertainty than most other industries. And this will make the use of AI in shipping for accurate predictions a necessity and not just an option in the near future. AI systems can ensure sustained profitability in the uncertain shipping industry. There are already various shipping companies that have started leveraging AI technology to get a competitive advantage. For instance, the Hong Kong shipping line OOCL partnered with Microsoft’s MSRA in April 2018. They were able to save $10 million USD a year. Such accomplishment is encouraging other shipping businesses as well. And if you don’t want to get left behind its time to take steps forward with AI.