The Most Promising Investment in Maritime: Artificial Intelligence
The maritime industry is a vast undertaking for all operators across the value chain. Everything from logistics to environmental protection has to be carefully considered, monitored and analysed to ensure safety, efficiency and most importantly cost-effectiveness. Humans are not capable to process the massive volumes of maritime-related data and evaluate all variables inherent in the operations of the shipping network. Shipowners who will manage to crunch all the data could benefit from more effective decision making that could result in considerable profits. To achieve this competitive upper hand, they should invest in the up and coming sector in maritime – artificial intelligence (AI).
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in Maritime
The shipping industry is getting increasingly concerned about the rapidly-approaching IMO 2020 sulphur cap. The new regulations will push to use compliant fuels or scrubbers. Right now the task to find the best alternative is a headache, but AI will be able to help in the future. The power of analysing vast amounts of data allows artificial intelligence to help develop environmentally friendly vessels and find the best low-sulphur fuels. The use of GPS-based AI can also aid in planning travel routes, choosing the most cost-effective ones in regard to fuel cost savings, while also ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.
Furthermore, maritime AI can give added value to customers. A broad analysis of customer behaviour and issues encountered in the past will provide operators with knowledge on how to adjust business processes to better cater to client needs and anticipate future requirements. AI findings from historical shipping data ensure that customers are more satisfied by making accurate predictions of ship arrival time. Maritime artificial intelligence can achieve this by collating weather patterns, port congestion and shipping lane trends, eliminating inefficiencies that otherwise would be left unnoticed.
AI can also help decrease shipping-related incidents and accidents by using algorithms to assess geopolitical risks and helping automate various processes. The maritime industry is prone to a high accident rate that is often attributed to human error due to manual operation handling. Maritime artificial intelligence could be the key to avoid such calamities in the future.
Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence in Maritime
The opportunity to avoid human error may not necessarily come with all positives. There is fear that reliance on AI and automation could eliminate the need for a human workforce. Estimations from Gartner show that artificial intelligence could eliminate 1.8M jobs by 2020. However, the situation is not as dire as it might seem as estimates also reveal that AI will actually create 2.3M jobs by that time.
Although maritime artificial intelligence can cover a lot of functions and provide effective solutions, a lot of AI decisions are based on its interpretation of reality that might not always be possible or recommended to apply in day to day operations. Therefore, tasks requiring creative thinking and decision-making will remain in the hands of people. AI-enabled systems will still need to be monitored since with all its benefits it’s still a machine that could malfunction.
With advantages of maritime artificial intelligence seemingly outweighing drawbacks, this sector holds a lot of promise for shippers. This opinion is widespread not only in the shipping industry but across the global market. According to a study by Tata Consultancy Services, 84% of the 835 executives that participated in the survey saw AI as “essential” to competitiveness that will have a major impact in business by 2020. How could your company get in on the action of using maritime artificial intelligence? Ask shipping industry leaders and experts at the 4th International Green & Smart Shipping Summit in Rotterdam on 8-9 October. Follow the link to register: www.gssummit.org.