In the 21st century, we cannot undermine the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) has had on various industries, from banking and cyber-security to retail, automotive, logistics, and more. However, the incorporation of AI in the shipping industry is still an ongoing process. The scope for AI is virtually limitless, and it will continue to advance through new technology and innovation.

The benefits of integrating AI technology in the shipping industry can impact your predictive capabilities and make your operations more methodical. Some implementations include real-time analytics, improved scheduling, automated procedures, among others.

Maritime Artificial Intelligence Industry Insights

AI adoption is increasing in most industries, with varying capacities. Logistics is starting to transition into an AI-driven industry. Therefore, with the integration of AI, there is a great potential to improve the maritime industry through quality and speed by eradicating repetitive and mundane tasks. According to the McKinsey Global AI Survey, there is nearly a 25% YOY increase in the use of AI in standard business processes. This includes a sizable jump from the past year in companies using AI across multiple fronts of their business. Thus, for the industry to move forward by identifying patterns through machine learning, they must become aware of “big data” and should be able to access it. Also, training the IT staff about machine learning plays a key role. However, keep in mind that with big change comes fear.

Barriers and risks within maritime industry for AI implementation

There are advantages and disadvantages to everything, including AI. Despite having its benefits, the fear surrounding more intelligent and efficient solutions can frequently be a controversial topic. The widespread adoption of AI still faces some barriers, and not just in the shipping industry. Globally some issues need to be addressed and overcome before moving forward and implementing AI.

Four categories broadly highlight these issues that are:

  • Data integration
  • Trust issues
  • Time and energy limitations
  • Shortage of talent on specific skills needed
When it comes to the shipping industry, let’s have a look at the challenges that come up:
1. Poor quality of data 

As an industry, there is a need for shared data to make high-quality decisions. The industry must move past the idea of competitive challenges around data sharing to benefit all involved. The quality of data in the sector could slow down its adoption of AI technologies. The primary objective would be to improve decisions through the availability of data-driven insights.

2. Lack of solid information

Furthering the quality of data would be the lack of reliable information across the entire supply chain, which would also prevent its development. Analytic insights need sourcing from an accurate data source. Data-driven decisions are only as correct as their insights. Proper and consistent data collection is required.

3. Fear of job replacement

There seem to be growing concerns about the impact computers and technology will have on the type of jobs created or replaced. Most likely, the kind of work will shift with the full adoption of AI. Workers will need time to understand and learn new technology at their workplace. The industry as a whole needs to keep pace with the innovations brought about by AI, the Internet of things, sensor technology, etc.

4. Transforming the business through digitization will be a process

Digital transformation is a process. There will be time constraints, limitations, and of course development costs. The process will enhance ways of working smarter, simpler, and more efficiently.

5. Lack of a clear strategy

Risks can be controlled when managing the process step by step. A clear strategy is a designed set of actions to create an advantage over competitors. It is important to have a clear and understandable strategy. Therefore, mastering clarity, goals, adaptability, and resources will enable companies to turn their strategy into success.

Advantages of AI in shipping for an improved future

Using data as a tool to learn from the past to improve decision-making in the future is invaluable. Some of the benefits of AI in the shipping industry include but aren’t limited to, improved analytics for decision-making, automation, safety, route optimization, etc. They will also play a major role in groupage shipping and the IoT revolution in the logistics and container shipping industry.

Advanced analytics

They are used to make valuable business insights from numerous data sources. This will help in ensuring that your decisions are based on data-proven methods. It can help shipping container suppliers or fleet owners make the right decision to sell or buy shipping containers online. The website’s algorithm can come up with a suggestion for the right unit best suited for the customer when planning to buy.

Automated equipment

AI, as well as automation, plays a role in the maritime industry. Machine learning capabilities will help in the analysis of historical data by considering such things as weather patterns or busy/slow shipping seasons. Automation procedures help predict problems before they even occur. This allows time to make adjustments. Also using AI, the bill of lading becomes more secure.

Safety and improved security

The frequency of mishaps can be diminished with the use of AI. AI also finds its use in the detection of threats and other malicious activities.

Route optimization

Route optimization would build optimization models to determine the most efficient route to take. With the help of AI, a prediction of the best path with minimum fuel consumption, with the weather into consideration can be calculated.

Performance forecasting

This parameter could take the relationship between speed and power to predict changes in performance due to underwater fouling. You could use historical data to understand the rate of degradation for vessel performance.

How AI plays a role in the maritime industry?

Let’s see the merits and demerits of AI in the maritime industry:

Merits Demerits
Advanced analytics Poor quality of data
Automated equipment/ processes Lack of stable information
Safety/ improved security Fear of job replacement
Route optimization Lack of a clear strategy
Performance forecast Transforming the business is a long process
Cost reduction
Optimizing maintenance

The future of AI in the shipping industry

As an industry, we are hardly scratching the surface of what is possible when intertwining shipping and logistics with artificial intelligence. There is a huge amount of inefficiency in the global supply chain, but the complicated intricacies of the system involved make it impossible for humans to solve them on their own. Thus, as AI continues to develop in other industries, there is a huge opportunity at every level to capitalize on the trend. AI is already finding its application for autonomous ships. However, far more interesting applications have cropped up to optimize business procedures, create smart containers, voyage planning, and vessel maintenance.

It is impossible to ignore the enormous potential of artificial intelligence. The number of successful case studies and examples will continue to grow as we look towards the future, for the integration of AI in the shipping industry. Hence, the incorporation of AI can deliver considerable benefits to the supply chain and shipping operations. Some pros include economical prices, reduced risk, improved forecasting, faster delivery through more optimized routes, etc.

Thus we see the potential of AI in the shipping industry and how it is changing the industry completely.