Microsoft partners with OOCL to apply AI in shipping industry

By James Henderson
Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), Microsoft’s research arm, and Orient Overseas Container Line Limited (OOCL) have partnered to apply Artificial Intelli...

Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), Microsoft’s research arm, and Orient Overseas Container Line Limited (OOCL) have partnered to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the shipping industry.

The collaboration is expected to nurture over 200 AI developers over the next 12 months and will focus on improving network operations and achieve efficiencies.

“Microsoft has been committed in providing cutting-edge AI solutions for companies across different industries to help drive digital transformation,” said 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 revolutionising the shipping industry.”

OOCl says it has fully embraced a hybrid cloud infrastructure with auto-switching and auto-scaling throughout its businesses and machine learning for several years.

For example, OOCL processes and analyses over 30mn vessel data every month. By leveraging AI technology and machine learning, the company develops predictive analytics on vessel schedules and berth activities.

“With MSRA’s efforts and expertise, we expect to save around $10mn in operation costs annually by applying the AI research and techniques for optimising shipping network operations from our most recent 15-week engagement,” said Steve Siu, Chief Information Officer of OOCL.

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“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. Moreover, MSRA will assist us in training over 200 AI engineers by conducting machine learning and deep learning sessions at the Hong Kong Science Park over the next 12 months.”

MSRA is Microsoft’s fundamental and applied research arm in the Asia Pacific region and a leading research community for core AI technologies including machine learning. It has access to cutting-edge technologies and the best researchers in the world who continue to invent new algorithms and solutions to push the start of the art and to fulfill different customer needs.

Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft, said: “Microsoft’s AI offering is a combination of technology, business model and user experience. Shipping network operations involve multiple parties and variables that can change at any moment. Embracing AI is a complex business challenge in digital transformation.

“MSRA’s AI research experts have joined forces with OOCL to optimise its existing shipping operations using deep and reinforcement learning, an R&D area that needs top AI researchers and domain experts for business impact validation.”

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