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Awake.AI to provide vessel schedule estimates for Finnish ports

Awake.AI to provide vessel schedule estimates for Finnish ports
The service will go live this autumn

Awake.AI has won the tender to provide vessel schedule estimates for Finnish ports through Fintraffic Vessel Services, helping to improve the competitiveness of Finnish maritime logistics.

The new Port Call Time Stamp and Estimation Service for port operators and authorities will boost the efficiency of port operators’ routine activities, support the development of automation, help to anticipate exceptional circumstances, and reduce environmental emissions.

Olli Soininen, programme manager at Fintraffic’s vessel traffic services, said: “The importance of time data for shipping has been taking into account in both national transport system plans and the government’s decision-in-principle on the digitalisation of logistics.

“The port call schedule service will now enable us to implement this on a practical level.”

Awake.AI was able to offer a ready-made service that successfully met both Fintraffic’s needs and the requirements set in the invitation to tender.

Therefore, the service can be made quickly available to port operators as development work does not need to start from scratch.

Kimmo Kummala, project manager and vice president of engineering at Awake.AI, said: “In practice, the new port call schedule service will provide the necessary APIs from which port operators can obtain time data for use in their own systems.”

The port call schedule working group Traficom, which was launched in Spring 2019 and consists of about 30 operators in the marine logistics sector, helped to launch the new service.

Katariina Kalatie, chief advisor of ship technology and marine environment at Traficom, said: “There have long been attempts to tackle the challenges posed by data management in maritime logistics.

“Before the working group was established, a preliminary study was carried out to collate existing research and reports and to identify any overarching needs. Time data clearly took centre stage.”

The preliminary study revealed a largely general consensus in terms of needs and the target state: better predictability and information sharing is required to boost operational efficiency.

Considering the challenge of how and what data could be shared openly, time data was found to be something that would benefit all port operators equally.

Kalatie added: “The members of the port call schedule working group make practical use of this information in their daily work.

“This gave us a good idea of what was really important and relevant at a grassroots level. The goal was to find practical solutions rather than high-flying strategy slogans.”

The new service will be based on data analysis through machine learning, improving upon the current method of the majority of vessels have had to provide estimated time of arrival via VHF frequencies which often results in poor and fragmented data.

The forecasts will be influenced by many factors that will be analysed using global AIS messages.

In addition to automatic classifications, such as where a ship is coming from and where it is going, a ship’s estimated time of arrival will be influenced by many variable factors, such as it speed and route, the weather and the ice situation.

Jussi Poikonen, Awake.AI’s technical project manager, said: “The AIS messages sent by vessels hold a lot of potential, but for some reason, there benefits have so far been ignored.”

Through machine learning, the service will remember what has happened in the past and how various factors have affected a ship’s arrival time.

AI will therefore learn the normal deviations for a particular locality and adjust its calculations accordingly, helping to reduce data fragmentation and generate more accurate schedules.

The new port call schedule will be introduced later this year, in autumn, and now that the agreement has been signed Awake.AI will begin an approximately month-long delivery process which the service will be technically customised to meet Fintraffic’s needs.

A test phase will follow after which Fintraffic can mobilise the service for use at ports.

The service will be available through the Fintraffic Digitraffic API or the Fintraffic Port Activity app and will first be introduced at Finnish ports but can in practice be used anywhere.

Sami Kaksonen, vice president of sales and marketing at Awake.AI, said: “Fintraffic has handled this project superbly, and shipping will now take a great leap forward.

“We hope that the service will be actively further developed to meet the needs of various operators.”

Kalatie said: “Better predictability is of concrete benefit to many people’s everyday work, and I hope that up-to-date and reliable schedule forecasts will be available to everyone who needs them within the next couple of years.

“Perhaps we can also find similar areas for development that can be improved with the aid of data.”