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Japanese transport company to use AI to improve efficiency

Efforts are progressing to harness emerging technologies to improve the efficiency of shipping operations. A Japanese transport firm recently announced that it is expanding its efforts with artificial intelligence to achieve greater efficiency with routing which will also contribute to lower emissions from their ships.

Building on a partnership that began in 2019, the Japanese transport firm is working with a Silicon Valley-based AI technology start-up, to improve efficiencies within the maritime industry. Together the two companies are developing a range of products that combine the transport firm’s maritime expertise and the start-up’s AI technology infrastructure.

The AI start-up, according to the transport company, is building technologies using highly-accurate ship performance models built off of a diverse set of real-world data points. These AI-powered models with some historical voyage data for certain vessels such as vessel speed, trim, main engine operation, weather, and sea condition allow the start-up to predict metrics like fuel consumption with state-of-the-art accuracy even without vessels’ design parameters.

Through various trials and intensive discussions concerning ship modelling, the transport firm announced that it has developed an AI-powered Smart Routing Engine. This application automatically analyses multiple potential routes for a given voyage and recommends prudent, efficient routing through the use of optimal main engine output and propeller RPM profiles.

The transport company says that it continuously monitors the condition of its fleet to ensure optimum operational efficiency which is being further aided by combining the technologies of the start-up as well as other existing and new solutions.

Through the addition of AI technology to the existing voyage routing systems, the transport firm expects that it will be able to further enhance the operations of its fleet which currently numbers approximately 800 ships in operation.

The transport company says that it understands the transformative potential of AI and looks forward to leveraging the start-up’s AI expertise and background in building scalable AI technology products to further advance operating efficiencies.

The global shipping industry has been challenged to further enhance energy efficiency and develop measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships in a manner that will phase them out in this century. The Japanese transport company’s group is one of the world’s leading multi-modal transport entities that is committed to achieving sustainable “Net Zero GHG Emissions” through collective efforts by 2030.

According to another article, insights into the ship’s operational data, amplified by Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help save up to 10% fuel and cut cost. Unlocking the value of advanced analytics can increase vessel uptime and reduce essential service visits by up to 30%.

Digital technologies, including AI, data integration and analytics solutions, are expected to transform international shipping in the coming decades as shipowners are seeking solutions that allow them to increase operational efficiency and sustainability and help to comply with environmental regulations.

A persistent challenge has been the tendency to gather and process data on a system-by-system basis, rather than analysing interdependent operations. Feeding datasets into disconnected ‘silos’ limits meaningful analytics capability, burying potential efficiency gains in an ocean of data.

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