Europe’s third largest port in the northern German city of Hamburg is taking a novel tack to try to increase efficiency. The shipping center on the Elba River has teamed up with the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (Fraunhofer CML) to introduce AI into its handling of massive container ships.
„Our algorithms learn from past data what kind of arrival rates and handling times can be expected in which situation, and they can determine peak times in advance,” Lutz Kretschmann, the head of the Fraunhofer CML’s Marine Operations Management research team told the website Hamburg News. “The forwarders can then react to this information to avoid waiting times. The transparency created for all those involved creates a self-regulating system.“
The project also aims to reduce the number of empty containers shipped back and forth.
„Our goal is to calculate where, when and how much demand can be expected based on the latest research results using artificial intelligence,“ said Kretschmann. “This information can be used for transport decisions and forms the basis of dynamic pricing. It takes the latest market developments into consideration when calculating the cost of container transport.“
In addition, Kretschmann explained, AI can help reliably identify damaged containers, saving time and expense on inspections.