News — February 19, 2018

Opinion Piece: Artificial Intelligence in the Port Landside Community

The Internet of Things is now an industry catchphrase, along with the big data that it generates. But more recently AI – artificial intelligence – has also begun to capture the imagination of businesses looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Together, IoT and AI herald a new era in the landside port community, opening possibilities for supply chain perfectibility never before possible.

We take a look at the way the two concepts relate and how they are helping ports become more efficient by drawing on an increasing pool of data.

AI and IoT – making the connection

The relationship between the IoT and AI is analogous to the way the body works. The IoT feeds us raw data from the physical world, just as our senses feed us information. AI is the brain. It makes sense of the data and decides what actions to perform.

AI has implications for all industries and professions – including law, for example. Given enough data, conclusions can be drawn about the best way to advise a client. In the same way, given enough information about a supply chain, an AI-enabled platform can advise a shipping company how to save time and money by making smarter decisions.

Big data, AI and supply chain decisions

AI depends on machine learning – current data analysis sets rules for future actions. For example, a person working in a port may know from experience that 80% of deliveries are often a day late for a certain carrier coming from Hong Kong during winter. But there’s not enough time or information available to do anything, other than advise the client of the delay when it happens.

However, an AI-enabled logistics platform can predict the likelihood of a single container being late from Hong Kong on a particular date. If that figure is 89%, the platform redirects the container to avoid the delay.

How? Because the logistics platform has factored in hundreds of variables coming from the IoT and processed them. No human being could devote so much attention to one transaction and make the complicated decision in time based on huge amounts of data.

The fast, exhaustive evaluation of possibilities is thanks to AI, and makes a real difference in supply chain reliability.

VBS meets AI – the future of supply chain platforms

With AI, a vehicle booking system (VBS) becomes more than a way of keeping track of containers. It’s a full-service capacity management system.

The system can become so sophisticated that bookings can be allocated to a specific truck and driver. This cuts back on wasted time associated with appointment systems.

By planning equipment and staff bookings to only support the incoming workload, your business is leaner, smoother and better able to respond to changing environments and regulations.

1-Stop’s VBS, an intelligent VBS, each terminal configures timeslots, work day calendars and business rules, and creates and maintain customer details. A public holiday in Singapore? A lengthy customs procedure in Taipei? These details, fed into the VBS, give it a granularity of data allowing it to calculate schedules down to the minute.

More information = more reliability

In 2010, Dr Hokey Min from the College of Business at Bowling Green State University, predicted a number of applications of artificial intelligence in supply chain management. These included that AI could be integrated with existing legacy systems of various supply chain partners without disrupting information flow across the supply chain.

Six years later, supply chain platform developers at IBM stated:

“Most organisations lack transparency into critical links in supply chain processes – as well as the visibility needed to better predict and prevent disruptions and inventory imbalance.

“This largely stems from an inability to corral and make sense of an overwhelming amount of data scattered across different processes, sources and systems.”

By bringing AI into the supply chain, this problem of data overkill is solved – data is ‘corralled’. The truly intelligent supply chain platform can gather thousands of details and make sense of them. By doing so, it creates new opportunities for those in the port community to excel at what they do.