OOCL and Microsoft to Develop Artificial Intelligence Applications for the Shipping Industry

An OOCL containership calls at Eurogate Container Terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Photo: EUROGATE

Hong Kong-based shipping company Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has teamed up with Microsoft’s research arm in Asia to advance the application of Artificial Intelligence research in the shipping industry.

The collaboration will look for ways to use AI to improve shipping network operations and achieve efficiencies within OOCL’s business. The project is expected to nurture over 200 AI developers over the next 12 months.

OOCL sees AI as key to the it’s digital transformation. The company already uses machine learning in some its operations and has as a talent base of over 1,000 developers located in San Jose, Hong Kong, Zhuhai, Shanghai and Manila. Each month, the company’s systems process and analyze over 30 million vessel data points. “By leveraging AI technology and machine learning, the company develops predictive analytics on vessel schedules and berth activities,” it says.

“With MSRA’s efforts and expertise, we expect to save around USD10 million in operation costs annually by applying the AI research and techniques for optimizing shipping network operations from our most recent 15-week engagement,” said Steve Siu, Chief Information Officer of OOCL. “Moving forward, we will embark on an 18-month joint-partnership in research and development to apply deep learning and reinforcement learning in shipping network operations.”

Microsoft Research Asia s Microsoft’s fundamental and applied research arm in the Asia Pacific region.

“Microsoft has been committed in providing cutting-edge AI solutions for companies across different industries to help drive digital transformation,” commented Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong. “With our Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge vision, we are partnering with selected top customers worldwide to accelerate the adoption of AI innovations into products and solutions that can be applied in real business contexts. The partnership between MSRA and OOCL demonstrates our strong progress in revolutionizing the shipping industry.”