Artificial Intelligence in Ports
23 Nov 2023

Artificial Intelligence in Port Operations: the key to efficiency?

The year 2023 has been defined by the promise, and perceived threat, of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Industries across the globe have had to approach and assess the potential impacts of this transformative technology, including the potential automation of several roles in our economy.

The port sector also faces this challenge. In a highly competitive environment, ports need to manage their operations while dealing with the complexities of fluctuating global supply chains, the decarbonisation transition and geopolitical uncertainties. To thrive in this complex and fast-evolving playing field, ports must consider methods to make analysing data and berthing of ships more competitive and efficient. The rise of AI is an opportunity to do so.

Investments into AI will support short and long-term optimisation and efficiency. The market is poised to grow rapidly, with reports anticipating the AI-driven systems and vessel autonomy market to reach a combined worth of $5 billion by 2028.

The potential of AI in the port sector is undoubtedly vast, but understanding the current landscape is key to make the most of the technology.

Does AI equal efficiency?

AI, when trained and developed wisely, can be transformative. However, a heavy reliance on AI isn’t always a necessity for efficiency gains. Many ports are still stuck with essential information scattered across paper reports, outdated spreadsheets, and whiteboards.

Therefore, the biggest improvements might lie hidden in conventional tools, waiting to be uncovered through a coordinated digital approach. Upgrading to modern, connected digital solutions is a vital initial step towards greater operational efficiency, helping optimise schedules and operations and providing actionable insights to guide strategic decision-making.

Therefore, while AI holds potential, in many cases true efficiency gains might come from digitalisation efforts. A coordinated approach, whether involving AI or not, will allow for ports’ growth and enhance operational efficiency.

Is AI safe and reliable for port operations?

There’s no room for errors in ports – unlike conversation algorithms, experimenting with port efficiency and safety isn’t an option. Safety is non-negotiable.

Here, it is important to recognise that not all AI is the same, so the application of AI in maritime operations takes a distinct approach.

While applications like Chat-GPT and DALL-E reply on pattern matching, using language and visual databases, our marineM system, which optimises port, tug and pilotage operations, is trained using a carefully curated dataset on the ports’ unique operations and given a clear set of parameters. The system then goes through a series of “reality checks” which teaches it the “right” answers. These continuous checks and adjustments, based on real operational data, help ensure safe, reliable responses that even improve with time, as the algorithm “learns” from the port’s operations.

Learn more in the November edition of HANSA’s printed publication: https://www.innovez-one.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/HANSA-Coverage-Innovez-One.pdf