NYK to trial AI-powered ship allocation plan modelling

NYK Group, via its technology development subsidiary MTI, is working with Japanese artificial intelligence (AI) firm GRID to develop an AI-based model to optimise the efficiency s for its pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs).

NYK operates about 120 PCTCs, the largest such fleet globally. The ship allocation plan, which determines which port a vessel will sail to on its next voyage once the current voyage ends, is generally manually formulated after consideration of various conditions such as cargo demands, ship schedule, vessel type, and ship loading capacity.

The ship allocation plan covers three main areas that will all impact efficiency of operations – the voyage the ship is assigned to, the schedule of the ship, and how the vehicles are loaded inside the vessel.

NYK currently utilises its own in-house ship allocation planning system but says it has faced difficulties in optimising its choices when dealing with the wide variety of parameters and situations involved, which can change from moment to moment. In addition, the company is keen to accelerate its decarbonisation programme, so operating its 120 PCTCs as efficiently as possible is a key focus area.

As a result, NYK has begun collaborating with GRID to build an optimisation model for ship allocation plans that will combine NYK’s knowledge in formulating ship allocation plans, MTI’s ship operations simulation technology, and GRID’s AI expertise.

The firms will work together to deploy digital twins and machine learning technologies to build on the mathematical optimisation technology already used in NYK’s own in-house system, creating an enhanced PCTC optimisation framework. Trials of this new system are planned for June 2022, with full operation targeted for 2024.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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