AI for the Maritime Industry by Jassim Haji

Dr. Jassim Haji

Bahrain’s history in shipping goes back all the way to 1883, with pioneers in the industry such as: Kanoo, ASRY, Maersk and BMMI.  Hence, as Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly important for the maritime industry, I would like to highlight some of its key advantages:

Accurately Predicting Shipping Times

One of the most tangible benefits of big data is the ability to make accurate predictions based on historical patterns. Analysts can use huge datasets not only to understand the transport time of cargo ships, trucks and planes, but to understand how long they wait to unload cargo at warehouses, how many cranes are available at port, and how long inspections take.

Big data can also incorporate information about weather patterns, the relative busyness and slowness of certain shipping seasons, and congestion in shipping lanes.

AI can synthesize all that maritime data almost instantly, offering better estimations of ship times than have ever been possible before. It can also spot potential problems well in advance, giving supply chain managers to make adjustments if necessary.

Improving Shipping Speed

AI has also made it easier to ship goods faster. This happens at a variety of levels, from savings of a couple seconds to those of days.

On the small end, AI helps shippers and third-party carriers optimize terminal operations, warehouse operations, and last-mile delivery route. At warehouses, for instance, many logistics providers give employees AI-powered electronic handsets or headsets that tell them which packages to pick up in which order.

AI has made trucking yards more efficient, helping trucks move through them, unload cargo, and get back out onto the road faster.

Mitigating Inefficiencies and Optimizing Maintenance

AI has also helped shippers better maintain the equipment used across their logistics networks. AI can support predictive maintenance, flagging vehicles that are reaching certain milestones or identifying malfunctioning equipment.

Additional environmental regulations will make shipping companies even more dependent on AI. For example, the UN International Maritime Organization is capping sulfur content in fuel oil for container ships and other marine vessels at 0.5% beginning in 2020. AI will help marine shippers know when their container ships are at risk of violating those limits, and advanced modeling can help with the design of more environmentally efficient vessels.

Improved Security

The shipping industry is also using AI to make itself more secure.

Shipping carriers now use drones to police the grounds around their warehouses. Big data can help logistics providers identify common sites of traffic accidents or package thefts and design their services around those. Locker services for apartment lobbies, like Hub by Amazon, are one such response.


by: Jassim Haji