MPA, IBM to roll out joint project on automating and improving maritime and port operations

 A container ship arrives in a port in Singapore on June 28, 2017.
A container ship arrives in a port in Singapore on June 28, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has completed the pilot trial of three modules under its joint project with IBM on the use of analytics-based technologies.

The MPA-IBM Safer Project, to be rolled out progressively from September, is aimed at improving maritime and port operations to support increasing growth in vessel traffic in Singapore.

MPA's port operations control centre handles more than 1,000 vessel movements daily here.

The seven modules under the project offer a host of new capabilities for automating and increasing the accuracy of critical tasks that previously relied on human observation, reporting, very high frequency communication and data entry, said the MPA in a statement.

Three modules have completed the pilot trial: automated movement detection, infringement analytics and pilot boarding detection.

The automated movement detection module uses cognitive and analytics technologies to detect and predict vessel movements, reducing the need for radio communication between the MPA control centre and ship masters. It also improves the accuracy of the information in movement time and location by up to 34 per cent, and frees up vessel traffic management officers to carry out their other roles.

The infringement analytics module allows port inspectors to detect suspicious or abnormal vessel behaviour with the use of machine learning-based analytics and vessel prediction models, which improves efficiency, while the pilot boarding detection module enables MPA to automatically detect the pilot boarding time and ensure that 95 per cent of vessels requiring pilotage services will be served in 15 minutes.

The remaining modules - which will provide advanced information on traffic density within Singapore port waters, detect illegal bunkering activities, detect vessels moving into prohibited areas, and predict vessel arrival time - will be rolled out by January next year.