Orient Overseas Container Line Limited and Microsoft Research Asia have entered into a partnership to apply artificial intelligence research to improve network operations and achieve efficiencies in the shipping industry.
“Microsoft has been committed in providing cutting-edge AI solutions for companies across different industries to help drive digital transformation,” said Cally Chan [left in photo], general manager of Microsoft Hong Kong. “With our Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge vision, we are partnering with selected top customers worldwide to accelerate the adoption of AI innovations into products and solutions that can be applied in real business contexts. The partnership between MSRA and OOCL demonstrates our strong progress in revolutionizing the shipping industry.”
OOCL has a talent base of over 1,000 developers located in San Jose, Hong Kong, Zhuhai, Shanghai and Manila. The company has been using a hybrid cloud infrastructure with auto-switching and auto-scaling throughout its businesses and machine learning for several years. By leveraging AI technology and machine learning, OOCL hopes to develop predictive analytics on vessel schedules and berth activities.
“With MSRA’s efforts and expertise, we expect to save around US$10 million in operation costs annually by applying the AI research and techniques for optimizing shipping network operations from our most recent 15-week engagement,” said Steve Siu [centre in photo], chief information officer of OOCL. “Moving forward, we will embark on an 18-month joint partnership in research and development to apply deep learning and reinforcement learning in shipping network operations. Moreover, MSRA will assist us in training over 200 AI engineers by conducting machine learning and deep learning sessions at the Hong Kong Science Park over the next 12 months. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with MSRA to leverage AI research and innovations to drive digital transformation in the shipping industry and to exchange knowledge among our top developers so that we can better address customer needs with advanced technologies and predictive analytics.”
Hsiao-Wuen Hon [second from left in photo], corporate vice president of Microsoft, chairman of Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D group and managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, said that MSRA is devoted to seeking broad and deep engagement opportunities with academic communities and vertical industries in order to promote collaboration, cultivate innovation, advance education, and turn ideas into reality.
“Microsoft’s AI offering is a combination of technology, business model and user experience,” he said. “Shipping network operations involve multiple parties and variables that can change at any moment. Embracing AI is a complex business challenge in digital transformation. MSRA’s AI research experts have joined forces with OOCL to optimize its existing shipping operations using deep and reinforcement learning, an R&D area that needs top AI researchers and domain experts for business impact validation.”