Hong Kong-based shipping company Orient Overseas Container Line Limited (OOCL) has partnered with Microsoft’s research arm to improve network operations and achieve efficiencies within the shipping industry through applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) research.
The partnership, between OOCL and Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), will apply deep learning research to shipping network operations with a projected $10 million annual operational cost saving. The collaboration is also expected to nurture over 200 AI developers over the next 12 months.
“With MSRA’s efforts and expertise, we expect to save around 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, 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.”
OOCL said AI is key in its digital transformation vision. The company already has a talent base of more than 1,000 developers located in San Jose, Hong Kong, Zhuhai, Shanghai and Manila. It has fully embraced a hybrid cloud infrastructure with auto-switching and auto-scaling throughout its businesses and machine learning for several years. For example, OOCL processes and analyzes more than 30 million vessel data every month. By leveraging AI technology and machine learning, the company develops predictive analytics on vessel schedules and berth activities.
“The partnership between MSRA and OOCL demonstrates our strong progress in revolutionizing the shipping industry.” said Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong. “Microsoft has been committed in providing cutting-edge AI solutions for companies across different industries to help drive digital transformation. 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.”
MSRA is Microsoft’s fundamental and applied research arm in the Asia Pacific region and a leading research community for core AI technologies including machine learning. It has access to cutting-edge technologies and the best researchers in the world who continue to invent new algorithms and solutions to push the start of the art and to fulfill different customer needs.
“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,” said Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft, Chairman of Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group, and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia. “Microsoft’s AI offering is a combination of technology, business model and user experience. 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.”