Artificial Intelligence to Revolutionize Shipping


Shipping is an industry that never settles. Major parameters are changing randomly over time, parameters that have to do with Regulatory Compliance Obligations (IMO 2020), fluctuation of F.O. price, generic fuel uncertainty (HFO, LSFO, LNG, LPG, Ammonia, etc.) as well as turbulence in global Trade and Economic Environment. Industry needs rapid adaptability and ship owners have proved that can adapt quickly.

The shipping industry is at a time of major change since a new revolution, the one which has to do with the digital transformation is about to take place. A transformation that will be boosted by technologies powered by Machine learning and Artificial intelligence (A.I.).

A revolution that will lead to safer vessels, easier to manage and more efficient, providing the crew and the shipping company with a clearer perception of the environment in which they operate. This new reality, which is still “challenged” by a portion of traditional shipowners, will be a key criterion, to the extent that it will be exploited, for the survival against the constantly increasing competition, as pointed out, by Mike Konstantinidis, CEO & Co-Founder at METIS Cyberspace Technology SA, a Greek high-tech company, specializing in the development of innovative solutions for the global shipping community.

He adds however, that so far shipping companies are at the state of being able, at best,  just to collect and store all those data produced onboard the vessels without having found a way to extract the intelligence that is hidden well inside them. It seems that the management of the maritime data will be the field on which the new era of the industry will be built upon, giving significant competitive advantages to those who will perceive it promptly, prepare and adjust their operations accordingly.

As Mr. Konstantinidis explains, the volume of data produced by all kinds of equipment is so large at the time being that specialized techniques and methodologies have been implemented in order to handle, process and utilize them.  Machine Learning, as the dominant technology that represents the concepts of Artificial Intelligence, consists of a set of algorithms, tools and techniques, optimized to handle big data in a way that mimics the human learning process in order to solve specific problems.

More specifically, the process involves the analysis of existing datasets in order to learn how to recognize trends and predict future events that couldn’t be noticed with other methods. The combination of multiple data sources and the analysis with Machine Learning and A.I. techniques will provide to the Shipping Industry increased safety, manageability and efficiency while the shipping companies and the crew will have a clearer overview of the environment on which they are required to operate.

Innovative Solutions

METIS, a company of high technological caliber and with great experience in shipping, is specializing in the development of innovative solutions for the global Maritime

Community and applies on a large-scale Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence techniques on its solutions. METIS’ objective is to ensure an integrated and reliable process of data collection, real-time performance monitoring and intelligent analysis, providing useful and actionable information, on an innovative way, addressing the needs of various roles, in a shipping company.

Apart from Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, METIS, utilizes additional technologies in the areas of wireless networks, Cloud computing and smart devices, providing to the shipowners the possibility to monitor the operations of their vessels in real-time when at office, without any intervention from the crew.

In practice, the solutions provided by METIS essentially set the artificial intelligence in the service of the shipping community. METIS monitors in real time a wide range of vessel parameters, records thousands of signals, and is able to provide a “virtual personal assistant” in the service of employees in various departments of a shipping company at the office, as well as to the crew onboard.

Significant part of the process, as pointed out by Mr. Konstantinidis, is the fact that using Machine Learning and A.I., METIS is on a constant process of shelf-improving. METIS learns the particularities of each vessel and every machinery equipment which is installed onboard and adjusts itself in order to be able to sense and diagnose promptly any possible, future malfunction event. METIS is of great help towards the proactive management of a fleet with a direct relationship to the relating profitability.

Significant Challenges

The overabundance of data which are available to the shipping industry, creates indeed significant challenges.

In such an environment, factors such as the assurance of the integrity and the quality of the collected data, the choice of the specific tools to be used for the analysis and the proper implementation of the scientific principles are of paramount importance.

METIS combines in the most comprehensive way, maritime know-how, naval engineering expertise and modern digital technologies to provide a powerful, integrated system that ensures the reliability of the data collection process, the monitoring of the performance in real-time and the optimization of the maintenance process, Mr. Konstantinidis mentions and concludes by stressing out that Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are expected to affect drastically the operating model of the global maritime.

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