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AI as a Service used in Port

We are constantly hearing about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being incorporated into people's daily lives all across the world. We must thus comprehend what AI is. AI is a complex system that can automatically learn, analyze, and function in a manner comparable to human intellect. As an illustration, the issue we pose to AI is an "input" that it may use to generate an "output" or "solution." AI helpers like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa are becoming increasingly common.

It is clear that AI technology is playing an ever-increasing role in today's world, whether at the individual, corporate, or governmental levels. In terms of cost savings and better organized data distribution, AI is progressively incorporated into convenience. It is hard to imagine modern business without AI as a Service (AIaaS). Transportation and logistics have also seen the growth of AI. The importance of AI at the port will be highlighted in this article.

As a matter of fact, the logistics sector has accounted for 13% of Thailand's GDP in 2020. The logistics industry cannot be disregarded because Thailand has a strong reputation in this field, as shown by statistical data from the Statista website. The size of the global logistics market was anticipated to be $8.6 trillion, with Thailand's logistics business expected to be worth 736.6 billion Thai Baht in 2020. (about 3,116.64 trillion baht, as of the exchange rate on November 23, 2022). However, the variety of freight transportation options may be linked to other forms of transportation as the geographic location facilitates commerce along the supply chain.

For marine and waterborne transportation in particular, ports act as the center of the logistics sector. Without it, there will not be anywhere to get containers from planes to land. It connects supply and demand in terms of global economics by integrating and enabling the continuous flow of the maritime supply chain cycle through the loading and unloading of cargo. Yet in order to progress in the modern day, this significant node still has issues to deal with.

The maritime transportation processes

The maritime transportation processes

Source: https://www.onthemosway.eu/sea-traffic-management-stm-a-tool-for-decarbonisation-and-safety-of-navigation/

Although there are well-developed facilities, the key concern for the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) on the port logistics industry is the intractability. For instance, the issue at Laem Chabung port is that even if the port is open 24 hours a day, the labor-intensive process and an erratic shipping schedule caused an unforeseen delay beyond the shipping’s control, and thus decreased the port’s efficiency. Further repercussions also include ineffective port administration and management.

Laem Chabung Port

Laem Chabung Port Source: https://hutchisonports.co.th/th/laem-chabang-port/

AIaaS should be utilized in this situation to mitigate these issues. In this context, AIaaS can be referred to as artificial technology complemented to support any form of service. As a result, using AI will not only reduce errors and improve port services, but it will also monitor the major issues in and around the ports. One case study involving Thai ports employing AIaaS is shown in the next section.

A case study from Verily Vision in Thailand

Verily Vision is a digital logistics service provider and one of depa's startup portfolios. Verily Vision's Container Truck Gate Automation project has been implemented at Sahathai Terminal. AiaaS was added to CCTV at the port to verify real-time data on a truck's container number and license plate with up to 95% accuracy, boosting gate optimization while delivering the highest level of access control and security administration.

Truck Gate Automation in Sahathai Terminal

Truck Gate Automation in Sahathai Terminal Source: https://verilyvision.com/th/case-study-sahathai-terminal-port-gate-automation/

Verily Vision demonstrates how businesses can use AIaaS to provide innovative solutions for traditional industries such as logistics. Meanwhile, the case of Sahathai Terminal demonstrates how AIaaS can assist logistics businesses in remaining effective and competitive in a rapidly changing industry by utilizing cutting-edge technologies.

A case study from Hutchison Port (Thailand)

The introduction of the AIaaS program, automated cranes, vehicles, and other equipment at Hutchison Port obviously improved port management productivity and efficiency. The AIaaS implementation has considerably increased container inspection accuracy. The time and expenses related to transporting containers, as well as the risk of product damage, have been reduced, and safety precautions have been increased accordingly.

One of the key advantages of AIaaS is that it is simple enough for port operators like Hutchison Port to quickly deploy the system. The application can be readily incorporated into current systems and tailored to fit certain business needs as the application is cloud-based. Moreover, this adaptability enables port operators to react swiftly to changes in demand, lowering the possibility of delays and raising client satisfaction.

Real-time data analytics that may be utilized to optimize port operations are another advantage of the AIaaS program. The initiative gathers information on container movements, traffic flow, and other important parameters using sensors and other technology. The analysis of this data may then be used to pinpoint areas that need to be improved, including container location or traffic flow.

AIaaS

As mentioned earlier, the need for AIaaS is critical to enabling the port to adopt new technologies and maintain its competitiveness and productivity. The prominent Thai gateway of Laem Chabung Port is the fourth-largest port in Southeast Asia and the twentieth-largest port in the world. It is a part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Development Plan and the Thailand 4.0 program. Laem Chabang Port Phase 3 will begin its operation by 2025.

The are several chained benefits that would be obtained if AIaaS is considered and implemented in Phase 3. Being one of the main hubs, precise communication is considered vital. With the utilization of 5G, it would enable faster and high bandwidth communication. Energy-wise, it would also be more efficient because the port no longer needs to rely on outdated types of signals. In relation to the notion of efficiency, the advent of appointment systems has made just-in-time (JIT) arrivals possible. JIT Arrival is a notion where a ship keeps up its best operating speed and only arrives at its port when availability is guaranteed. As of now, ships are said to wait at anchoring for up to 9% of their time. Potentially, this waiting might be translated to slower speed, lowering GHG emissions. Although JIT is a common topic of emphasis in the logistic sector, it can still be improved if tackled appropriately. On top of that, AIaaS would make it full circle with the ability to not just boost operations, but also allow related parties to take better care of the handled resources. Real-time data regarding the state of operations is being transmitted through smart technologies. This makes it possible for ports to anticipate the need for maintenance or repairs, preventing unanticipated downtime.

To summarize, there is room for improvement for Thai ports to turn obstacles into opportunities by adopting technology such as artificial intelligence or big data and eventually becoming "smart ports." A computerized dashboard can help monitor maritime activity in real time, facilitating greater control and planning. Amid growing environmental concerns, cutting-edge technology may also lead to new sources of energy. Offshore wind farms, for example, should be employed as a green energy source across Thailand's Smart Port for marine activities. All in all, employing AI as a Service can improve global trade, through increased productivity and better business strategies, as well as raising environmental awareness.

Janista Eamwongsri

Division of Digital Investment Promotion

Digital Economy Promotion Agency

Reference