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Awake.AI is to provide vessel schedule estimates for all Finnish ports

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Awake.AI is to provide vessel schedule estimates for all Finnish ports. Image: Unsplash
Awake.AI is to provide vessel schedule estimates for all Finnish ports. Image: Unsplash
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Awake.AI won the tender to provide vessel schedule estimates for Finnish ports through Fintraffic Vessel Traffic Services. The new port call schedule service will improve the competitiveness of Finnish maritime logistics, boost the efficiency of port operators’ routine activities, support the development of automation, help to anticipate exceptional circumstances, and reduce environmental emissions.

Fintraffic´s Vessel Traffic Services has signed a service agreement with Awake.AI for the new Port Call Time Stamp and Estimation Service, that is, a time data service for port operators and authorities. An EU-wide tender for the public procurement attracted a great deal of international interest. The technical implementation of the project will be carried out in Finland. The new port call schedule service will improve the competitiveness of Finnish maritime logistics, boost the efficiency of port operators’ routine activities, support the development of automation, help to anticipate exceptional circumstances, and reduce environmental emissions.

“The importance of time data for shipping has been taken into account in both national transport system plans and the government’s decision-in-principle on the digitalization of logistics. The port call schedule service will now enable us to implement this on a practical level,” says Olli Soininen, Programme Manager at Fintraffic´s Vessel Traffic Services.

Awake.AI was able to offer a ready-made service that successfully met both Fintraffic’s needs and the requirements set in the invitation to tender. The service can therefore be made quickly available to port operators, as development work does not need to start from scratch.

“In practice, the new port call schedule service will provide the necessary APIs from which port operators can obtain time data for use in their own systems,” says Kimmo Kummala, Project Manager and Vice President of Engineering at Awake.AI.

PORT CALL SCHEDULE WORKING GROUP IDENTIFIED PRACTICAL REQUIREMENTS

The new service owes its existence to the port call schedule working group, which was launched in spring 2019. The group was led by Traficom and consisted of about 30 operators in the marine logistics sector: companies, public-sector entities, organizations and authorities that use and produce time data.

“There have long been attempts to tackle the challenges posed by data management in maritime logistics. Before the working group was established, a preliminary study was carried out to collate existing research and reports and to identify any overarching needs. Time data clearly took centre stage,” says Katariina Kalatie, Chief Advisor, Ship Technology and Marine Environment at Traficom.

The preliminary study revealed a largely general consensus in terms of needs and the target state: better predictability and information sharing is required to boost operational efficiency. The challenge was how and what data could be shared openly, as some information contains trade secrets and many operators are in competition with each other. Time data was found to be something that would benefit all port operators equally.

“The members of the port call schedule working group make practical use of this information in their daily work. This gave us a good idea of what was really important and relevant at a grassroots level. The goal was to find practical solutions rather than high-flying strategy slogans,” says Kalatie.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LEARNS FROM THE PAST AND ADJUSTS ESTIMATES ACCORDINGLY

The arrival and departure of a ship from port determines the schedules of countless people. Although the majority of vessels have had to provide an estimated time of arrival via VHF frequencies in addition to other necessary information, the data obtained from the vessels has been poor and fragmented.

The new service will be based on data analysis through machine learning. The forecasts will be influenced by many factors that will be analyzed using global AIS messages. In addition to automatic classifications, such as where a ship is coming from and where it is going, a ship’s estimated time of arrival will be influenced by many variable factors, such as its speed and route, the weather and the ice situation.

“The AIS messages sent by vessels hold a lot of potential, but for some reason, their benefits have so far been ignored,” says Jussi Poikonen, Awake.AI’s technical project manager.

By utilizing machine learning, the service will remember what has happened in the past and how various factors have affected a ship’s arrival time. Artificial intelligence will therefore learn the normal deviations for a particular locality and adjust its calculations accordingly. This will clearly reduce data fragmentation and generate more accurate schedules.

“Although price was naturally a factor in the tendering process, it was great to see that due attention was also paid to data quality. Fintraffic has clearly taken the value of data into account,” says Sami Kaksonen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Awake.AI.

PORT CALL SCHEDULE SERVICE TO BE INTRODUCED IN RECORD TIME

The new port call schedule service will be introduced this autumn. Now that the agreement has been signed, Awake.AI will begin an approximately month-long delivery process during which the service will be technically customized to meet Fintraffic’s needs. This will be followed by a test phase, after which Fintraffic can mobilize the service for use at ports. The service will be available through the Fintraffic Digitraffic API or the Fintraffic Port Activity app,” says Juho Pitkänen, Development Manager at Fintraffic´s Vessel Traffic Services.

The service will first be introduced at Finnish ports, but can in practice be used anywhere. This offers global opportunities in a variety of sectors. Finland is a world leader in digital development, and activities such as the port call schedule service will ensure that Finland remains at the forefront of global digitalization.

“Fintraffic has handled this project superbly, and shipping will now take a great leap forward. We hope that the service will be actively further developed to meet the needs of various operators,” says Kaksonen.

“This is a great example of networked collaboration in which each party has supported the project at different stages. I hope this can be developed on a long-term basis, and that more operators will get involved. Better predictability is of concrete benefit to many people’s everyday work, and I hope that up-to-date and reliable schedule forecasts will be available to everyone who needs them within the next couple of years. Perhaps we can also find other similar areas for development that can be improved with the aid of data”, says Kalatie.

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Container Shipping Lines

Maersk invests in electrofuels startup company

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Maersk invests in electrofuels startup company. Image: Maersk
Maersk invests in electrofuels startup company. Image: Maersk
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Maersk Growth has made a leading venture investment in Prometheus Fuels, a Silicon Valley-based startup with a promising direct air capture-technology to enable cost efficient, carbon neutral eFuels for shipping.

The minority investment in Prometheus Fuels will support A.P. Moller – Maersk’s work to execute on the strategy to decarbonise marine operations.

Maersk expects several fuels to exist alongside in the future fuel mix and has identified 4 potential fuel pathways to decarbonization; biodiesel, alcohols, lignin-enhanced alcohols and ammonia.

The investment supports Maersk’s efforts with electrofuels which include alcohols produced from renewable energy. Along with biodiesel, alcohols including green methanol are feasible fuel technologies.

“Prometheus Fuels is developing a very exciting and innovative technology to produce carbon based electrofuels from direct air capture of CO2. Electrofuels are expected to play a key role for the decarbonisation of shipping and, if scaled successfully, Prometheus Fuels’ technology will address a key constraint for carbon based electrofuels – namely the cost competitiveness of direct air capture”, commented Morten Bo Christiansen Head of Decarbonisation, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Maersk expects synthetic alcohols and other electrofuels to play a big role in the decarbonisation of shipping, due to its long-term scalability advantages compared to biobased fuels. Produced from renewable energy and water and ambient CO2 from direct air capture, it has the potential to offer infinite availability regardless of geographic scope.

“Our zero net carbon, zero sulphur electrofuel doesn’t compete with food production – it comes from renewable electricity and air so its feedstock is limitless. Our electrofuel offers a truly viable solution to decarbonise shipping – one that can scale and be implemented in time to avoid catastrophic global warming. We’re excited to partner with Maersk, a global leader in decarbonisation in the transportation and shipping industries, to accelerate this transition”, said Rob McGinnis, Founder and CEO of Prometheus Fuels.

Maersk joins a team of investors which includes BMW i Ventures and Metaplanet. Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen, Partner at Maersk Growth, will join the Board of Prometheus Fuels.

“Decarbonization is a strategic imperative of Maersk, so investing in this space is a natural focus point for Maersk Growth and one where we can offer value beyond capital through the expertise and scale of the Maersk organization. Prometheus’ technology has disruptive potential for the green fuel market, and we look forward to contributing as well as learning from this partnership in the years to come” said, Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen Venture Partner in Maersk Growth.

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Container Shipping Lines

Wan Hai Lines holds online ship naming ceremony for new vessels

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Wan Hai Lines holds online ship naming ceremony for new vessels. Wan Hai Lines Ltd
Wan Hai Lines holds online ship naming ceremony for new vessels. Wan Hai Lines Ltd
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Wan Hai Lines Ltd. held ship naming ceremonies for WAN HAI 289 and WAN HAI 290 accompanied by a charity donation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a physical ceremony was replaced by an online one.

WAN HAI 289 and WAN HAI 290 are the 6th、7th vessels in a series of 2,038 teu containerships built by China Shipbuilding Trading Co., LTD., and Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard Co., LTD. Ms. Emily Wu, Executive Vice President, Corporate Management of FAR EASTERN NEW CENTURY CORPORATION and Ms. Lily Tan, Executive Vice President of SHENZHEN MUNICIPAL RISING AGRICULTURE I/E CO.,LTD, named these two vessels respectively during the ceremony.

The 2,038 teu series is designed with LOA 175m, deadweight capacity of 23,802 mt on 10.5 m draft and a maximum cruising speed of 20.66 nautical miles. The design of 2,038 teu series takes energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly aspect into account. Moreover, all the ships delivered are certified with “Smart Ship” notations by international well-known classification societies. The newbuildings are part of Wan Hai Lines efforts to ensure their continuous pursuit of fleet upgrade in order to provide most quality service to customers.

WAN HAI 289 will be delivered on September 30th at Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard. After delivery, she will join Wan Hai Lines’ Japan Kansai-Vietnam Service to provide efficient delivery service among the corridor.

In addition to naming the newbuildings, Wan Hai Lines also made charity donations to Sunflower Social Work Services of ZhongShan and Dongguan Social Donation Receiving Station, two local welfare organizations focusing on care for children in difficulty, people with disabilities and the disadvantaged group. The charity donations represent part of Wan Hai Lines motto, “WE CARRY, WE CARE.”, as the company is committed to fulfill its corporate social responsibility, providing quality service to customers and bringing love to the society.

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Intermodal Transport

Samskip acquires Sea Connect UAB in strategic Baltic Sea investment

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Samskip acquires Sea Connect UAB in strategic Baltic Sea investment. Image: Samskip
Samskip acquires Sea Connect UAB in strategic Baltic Sea investment. Image: Samskip
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Acquisition of Baltic shortsea operator once again extends regional links into Samskip’s pan-European multimodal network. European transport group Samskip has broadened its Baltic operations by acquiring shortsea specialist Sea Connect. The Klaipeda-based shipping company, which will be renamed Samskip Sea Connect, offers shortsea services connecting Russia, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

Sea Connect operates three 1A Ice Class container vessels calling twice a week at St. Petersburg and Rotterdam, weekly at Hamburg and at Aarhus sub inducement.

“This acquisition strengthens our position in Russia, in the Netherlands and across a range of key Baltic ports in between,” said Kari-Pekka Laaksonen, Chief Executive Officer, Samskip. “It enhances services for Samskip’s shortsea customers focusing on growth opportunities in Russia and adds opportunities for importers and exporters within the region to secure cost-efficient and sustainable multimodal connections farther afield.”

“Sea Connect has emerged as an exceptionally lean, robust operation offering reliability in quay-to-quay and door-to-door services,” Laaksonen added. Its acquisition consolidates Samskip’s commitments to the Baltic region, following its acquisition of Norlines in 2017 and the founding of a separate Finnish entity earlier this year.

Both Sea Connect Managing Director, Viacheslav Puzemskij and SCS-Russia Managing Director, Anton Larkin remain to play full roles within the new organization, working with Johan van der Pijl, Samskip Regional Director Baltics and Russia.

“This is a win-win for our customers which brings together Sea Connect’s route-specific focus with the opportunities created by Samskip’s extensive multimodal network and values,” said Viacheslav Puzemskij. “Integrating our company with Samskip aligns with the strategic goal we set ourselves in forming Sea Connect to evolve as a trusted partner and grow to serve the full range of customer needs in the Baltic and Russian markets. We assure our present and future clients that a customer-orientated culture will remain in the company, as our most important value.”

Laaksonen anticipates particular growth in unitized volumes connecting Russia and the Baltic states through Rotterdam by rail, barges, vessels all over the Europe, and also greater deployment of Samskip’s expert refrigerated cargo services in St Petersburg. “Russian exporters and importers are likely to be attracted by new possibilities to penetrate markets to the west and south using Samskip’s network of shortsea, rail, inland barge and road services,” he added. Sea Connect’s feeder links with deep sea carriers would also remain.

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