Right now, AI is that new kid in school that everybody is talking about and everybody wants to hang out with. AI is popular because it has applications in almost all fields of human endeavor. AI has roles in manufacturing, automobile making, agriculture, homes, fashion, and the industry we are concerned with in this post, the shipping industry. According to McKinsey, this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding AI’s global potential.
Shipping is vital to worldwide commerce, and shipping ports are active in distributing products. The emergence of online stores has made shipping more valuable, as people can order from anywhere and rely on shipping companies to transport their products to them. With the importance of shipping in the world, shipping ports can be notorious for inefficiency. There is always a potential for loss of goods at the ports. Also, with COVID 19, fewer workers are handling the ports. This adds to existing efficiency problems.
Now is the time that AI take center stage in shipping, and in this post, we will cover how AI will positively transform the container shipping industry.
Some Problems Facing Shipping Currently
1. Congestion at Ports
This problem has grown due to COVID 19, which has caused fewer workers to be at the ports. There are now many containers at ports with delays being cleared.
2. Goods Perishing in Containers
Chassis help in the easy movement of containers at the port. There is a chassis shortage as ports now have fewer chassis. This problem could be reduced if there were an efficient allocation of available service chassis.
3. Problems of Trucking Scheduling
Truckers now have problems scheduling their visits to ports to transport cargo. The inability to schedule has also negatively impacted the booking of dual transactions. By dual transactions, we mean truckers being able to bring a container to the ports while also registering to take one away. Trucks also spend excessive time at ports waiting to be loaded and unloaded.
From the above list, you can see the need to find new creative means to ensure ports function well. Right now, the best means of assuring success lies with AI.
What is AI?
AI refers to the technology that gives machines to execute tasks that require a human thought process.
AI is of two types, General AI or Narrow AI.
General AI is what many people think when they think of AI, and it is why many people distrust AI so much. The meaning of General AI is the AI that mimics general human intelligence. The androids of science fiction movies come to mind. Another significant example is how the robots in Terminator can think, talk and act like humans. Unlike what most people think, technology hasn’t reached the point of a robust General AI that can mimic the human mind at all levels. It is something that is still far off in the future.
What is popular mostly today is Narrow AI. Experts at paper writing reviews recommend that people not panic about this because AI would make every sphere of human life better. They maintain that AI isn’t intrinsically evil, but it all depends on humans. So, they recommend that laws should be in place to regulate AI usage to prevent abuse of AI capabilities by human beings.
Narrow AI has witnessed a lot of breakthroughs. AI can mimic human intelligence in specific tasks. Moreover, it can perform that task far faster than a human. It can sift through vast amounts of information rapidly and develop a solution that will suit the specific task it’s programmed to achieve.
How Will AI Transform the Shipping Industry?
Now that you have the basic AI definitions let’s look at how AI can help solve current shipping problems. When integrated into the shipping ports, AI would help solve the various communication problems that slow down the movement of containers in ports. AI can identify gaps in communication, the best shipping pattern, and with its predictive features, it can boost efficiency in the transportation of containers.
When clearing containers are efficient, containers won’t spend so long at the ports and be subject to demurrage, which would eventually be reflected in the market prices. AI has massive potential in the container shipping industry and can provide the following benefits:
1. Improved Container Tracking
Shipping ports often do not prioritize the container that should be taken off the shift first. This allows perishable products to be destroyed in their containers as they don’t get the required attention they need. AI can help solve this by prioritizing the containers that need immediate attention to prevent destruction. This helps prevent waste and potential scarcity of those perishable goods.
2. Port Decongestion-Matching Drivers to Containers
As mentioned earlier, one of the issues of shipping ports is congestion of containers, which arise from truckers’ inability to have proper scheduling to pick up containers. The automation of this process via AI would allow truckers to get faster scheduling which would help decongest the shipping ports.
3. Port Decongestion-Optimal Resource Utilization
We discussed how AI could help bridge communication gaps and allow truckers to have faster scheduling to carry containers in the ports. AI would provide further enhancements by assisting truckers in maximizing their time at the ports by carrying out dual transactions and reminding them of their appointments. Also, AI can help solve the chassis crisis by effective chassis allocation and utilization.
4. Plan Against Delays
Shipping comes with different surprises and disruptions that prevent ships from arriving at the planned time. AI can provide predictive analysis, which would factor in various delays and provide for their resolution.
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