Shipnext gets Belgian development grant for AI platform

Online cargo platform Shipnext has secured a multi-year grant from Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) to support the further development of its predictive analytics and AI technology for supply chain applications.

With the funding in place, the Shipnext team now plans to begin a project to develop a supply chain volatility forecast, to allow users to understand likely transportation costs in advance, as well as predicting anticipated demand for shipping assets.

A new algorithm will be created making use of various freight matrices and data sources for commodity trade-related analytics. The project, initially aimed at shipping commodities such as steel, coal, chemicals and agricultural products, will utilise natural language processing, machine learning, big-data analysis and predictive analytics.

Shipnext will receive an initial grant of €400,000 in the coming months, with further funding to follow over the next five years.

“Back in 2016, Shipnext saw that the shipping industry was drowning in emails – it was obvious that processing freight requests manually could not go on forever,” said Alexander Varvarenko, founder and CEO of Shipnext.

“For that reason, we embarked on a digital transition for the shipping business. First, we patented the process of extracting cargo, fleet and shipping data from emails using digital algorithms and AI-driven technology in order to facilitate instant freight-matching and automation of workflows.”

“Thanks to VLAIO support, we will now be able to take our offering to the next-level – helping users accurately anticipate freight rates and demand for ships ahead of time. The culmination of our project will be a highly accurate forecast of freight market volatility, thereby leading to more sustainable supply chains, both in Europe and internationally.”

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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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