AI and its role in the shipping industry

With digitization being the guiding light right now, it is not surprising that all industries are jumping onto this bandwagon, and rightfully so. The maritime and shipping industry has always faced challenges and pressures owing to the environmental regulations imposed by men and by nature. And it is inevitable to have digital assistance to nurture this industry and provide it with the necessary information to overcome these challenges.

AI, short for Artificial Intelligence, is among the leading technologies to be used in many industries to handle large amounts of input data and provide valuable information. The same is the case of AI, which has, in recent years, totally overhauled the shipping industry to add more value to efficiency and productivity.

Role of AI in the shipping industry

We are in an era where data plays a pivotal role in making informed decisions. Combining the logistics and the machine-human interaction values has enabled us to make decisions that are long-term and futuristic and to our favor too.

Like in every other industry, AI has a crucial role to play in the Shipping industry as well. It is not just autonomous ships that we can derive from AI in shipping; there are many other applications in which AI optimizes the processing and improves the planning.

AI is used in shipping across various channels, including the

  • planning of voyage,
  • maintenance of the vessels,
  • studying weather patterns,
  • identifying the shipping seasons,
  • Improve the efficiency of cargo ships
  • Charting an optimal course for sailing and much more.

AI offers an instant synthesis of the data and offers a better estimate of the possible problems and the solutions. This allows enough time for the ship owners and shipping businessmen to plan and make adjustments when required. Of course, cost-effectiveness is just one of the few easily available benefits you can avail by using AI.

Benefits of using AI

With a supply chain that spans countries, the shipping industry is still trying to get a better grasp of the scenario, tackling various challenges across the global market. Thanks to system complexity, it is beyond the grasp of humans to do it on their own, which is why the requirement of AI has become imminent.

  • Eases the scheduling calculations

One of the major benefits of using AI in shipping would be in the field of logistics and transportation. Container shipments are among the most used and yet the most complex of transportation to handle. This is because there is no single route for transportation of cargo with multiple factors like environmental conditions, transshipments, etc., influencing the decision. There are also unexpected disruptions awaiting to hinder your transport like weather changes, equipment issues, and so on.

With machine learning capabilities from AI, there is a possibility to leverage the information and predict any conflicting schedules and berth availabilities before making a travel plan. Furthermore, AI allows for efficient planning in the utilization of resources, terminals, and networks, assuring cost reduction.

  • Shipping speed increases

Shipping speed has seen a considerable improvement with the advent of AI and its influence in shipping. With better management of warehouses and terminals, AI has assured better ship timings from mere seconds to many days in different situations. AI has found a role in the management of the trucking yards as well, making the operations smoother and efficient, ensuring faster unloading of cargo. AI also helps to avoid crowding in shipping lanes and for efficient cargo packing as well.

  • Optimal maintenance

With better logistics comes better maintenance of the equipment, and AI has been of immense help in identifying those that need immediate maintenance, predictive maintenance scheduling, and several other sectors.

A simple example is AI regulating the environmental efficiency of a vessel, which will further have a positive impact on fuel intake, green-house emissions, etc. This not only ensures a safer eco-balance but also regulates the cost of the maintenance of the freight vessels.

Apart from the above major benefits,

  • AI is also used for implementing better safety procedures in the warehouses, to control traffic inside the truck yards, understand the challenges of customers, and much more.
  • With the ability to mimic humans in terms of understanding visual and auditory cues, AI has been used to build technology for controlling onboard equipment and to create a better user interface.
  • AI also helps in predicting future issues associated with the shipping seasons, weather changes, and many other factors and helps mitigate the risks effectively.
  • AI allows for refined processing of the entire shipping industry eliminating inefficiencies, possible human errors, and duplications.
  • With AI, there has been a constant upgrade to the existing processes and consistent reduction of costs with improved efficiency and productivity.

While the entire world is moving towards a completely digital era, the shipping industry still has a long way to go before the launch of a ship that can run without a human. And yet, with the help of AI, there is improved efficiency every day. More and more companies are moving toward implementing and creating systems with AI to gain a competitive edge over others.

There are still opportunities to be explored and development to be made, and a long way to go to full before the full potential of AI is realized. AI continues to transform the shipping industry and will continue to play a huge role in the upcoming years as well.