NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
By Sea and Coast | 04/05/2021

Artificial Intelligence Revolutionising the Shipping in Numerous Ways

Change is the constant partner of a civilization. When a sector like shipping has the responsibility of maintaining a global supply chain on its shoulders, changes are inevitably induced. But when we talk of shipping as a sector evaluating modern techniques, we can say that the changes- vivid Artificial Intelligence modules- are need-inducing. The shipping freight corridor now doesn’t come with ‘moving cargoes from one part to the other’ as the sole objective but bringing sustainability, efficiency, and environment-friendliness in the maritime shipping is of prime concern now.

However, the stress on making the shipping industry greener has been rightly addressed by the International Maritime Organisation, shipping giants, and research bodies. Releasing approximately 950 million tonnes of CO2, shipping contributes to nearly 3% of the global GHG emissions as reported by the 3rd IMO GHG study.

IMO bringing decarbonization in focus has built up the initial GHG strategy that aims at a reduction in the carbon intensity of international shipping (to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050, compared to 2008); and that total annual GHG emissions from international shipping should be reduced by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008.

The need for developing and introducing more feasible pathways to ship things is the father of innovation and has skyrocketed the interference of Artificial Intelligence in the maritime industry. There are various AI-based modules that are pushing the maritime sector to the cusp of a new era. To name the biggest of them-  Smart ships bringing economical efficiency via fuel optimization, route forecasting ensuring safe operations with better turn-around time, enhanced crane operations escalating port efficiency, drones navigating on the seas to deliver key spare parts, autonomous shipping, and digital twin paving the way for revolutionizing every single component from designing a ship to dismantling the same at the scrapyard.

Let us discuss these godfathers to greener and sustainable shipping in a more insightful manner.

Digital Twin

 As defined by Glaessgen and Stargel, a digital twin is a multi-physics, multi-scale, and probabilistic simulation of a complex product that uses models, sensor updates, etc. to mirror the life of its corresponding physical twin.


However, when we restrict the definition to the maritime domain, it says- digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical asset that renders its behavior and state close to real-time, sensor observations acting as the key to providing operational conditions. The basic architecture of digital twin looks like this:

  1. Physical Twin- Physical Asset+ acctutaors+ sensors
  2. Local Data source-  Sensor interface on the physical twin
  3. Local Data RePOSITORIES- Data Servers and Local Databases located near the digital twin.
  4. IoT Gateway- Furnishes interfacing between local and cloud data repositories that establishes a connection between the physical twin and its virtual/digital counterpart.
  5. Cloud-Based information Repositories- Stores the data collected by physical assets and their digital counterpart
  6. Emulation and Simulation Platform- Generates value (predictive maintenance, optimization, etc.) through encompassed software with the help of gathered data.


When we look into the Hype Cycle for emerging technologies graph for the year, it has been speculated that the digital twin technology is to reach the plateau of productivity in the time span of 5-10 years.