What impact is artificial intelligence likely to have on the work of an SnP broker? In our previous article, Maritime meets AI – Part 1, we gave a brief overview of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and, in particular, some of the terminology being used.
AI is at last benefiting the maritime sector in an increasing number of ways. These range from the reduction of costs and optimisation of vessel performance through to weather routing and port planning . It is also likely that most chartering brokers will have already seen changes to their way of working brought about by the introduction of AI into their workflow.
AI as it currently exists (namely, narrow AI) is best at carrying out repetitive tasks, albeit learning from the data being processed and thus enabling better and faster decisions to be made. Regardless of this, AI is still currently only capable of assisting in the performance of specific tasks.
In the chartering sector, when compared to SnP, it is probably fair to say there are more repetitive tasks being undertaken. The number of chartering related transactions, throughout the maritime sector, is far higher than in SnP. Amongst others, for a chartering broker to function efficiently requires an awareness of the following:
• the many different types of cargoes, their characteristics, how they need to be handled, including which vessel types and sizes are appropriate, and the routes on which they are shipped around the world
• the current positioning and upcoming itineraries of ships in relation to demand and supply of new cargo orders
• ports, including what facilities are available and how congested they might be at any point in time
• the performance of vessels along with likely voyage profitability, taking into account such things as the impact of weather conditions, vessel speeds and consumptions, condition of hull and engine and others
• the current and anticipated freight market conditions, as dictated by the supply/demand dynamics of the market and the fleet mix of each sector
Clearly a wide range of variables that require the processing of sizeable volumes of data. This is probably the reason the influence of AI has been felt in chartering in a such a significant way already. However, SnP has not really seen the benefits that are available by making use of artificial intelligence. Not until now…
Artificial Intelligence and the SnP broker
A machine that has the same intelligence level as a human or better, this time across a wide variety of tasks is known as strong or general AI. This is something that is still some 25 to 30 years away. For the foreseeable future therefore, we need to turn to narrow AI and assess what impact this is having, and is likely to have, on the work of the SnP broker.
Whilst it is impossible to comment on what might happen in 25 to 30 years, we can say with some confidence that the SnP broker will be around for a long time yet. However, his or her focus will change with routine tasks gradually but surely being undertaken by machines, and where comprehensive information on which key decisions can be made is aggregated, processed and presented to the broker in real time.
Success in SNP will be dependent on having access to the right information and the speed at which it is made available. Critically though, the most successful broker will still be the one with an insight into the market gained only by experience, one with an extensive array of long-term relationships, one who is capable of adding value to a deal by devising creative solutions to challenges and keeping clients fully up to date with what is happening and is likely to happen in the market. The SNP broker must be able to iron out discrepancies and overcome last minute hindrances. But most importantly, that broker will also necessarily command both the respect and the trust of all those with whom he or she comes into contact. It is for all these reasons that an SnP broker is unlikely to be replaced by a machine in the foreseeable future.
What CompassAir is able to ensure right now is the availability of relevant, accurate information in real time. It performs many repetitive administrative tasks many times faster than can ever be done manually, and thus allows brokers more time to focus on doing what they do best by using their skills and experience to the full.
CompassAir, Artificial Intelligence and SnP
As part of our program of continuous development, we strive to make available a set of software tools that will enable an SnP broker to work in the most efficient way, to be able to minimise time spent on routine administrative tasks, tools that provide accurate information in the most timely way and ensure maximum value is created.
This continuous development of products is made possible by us working alongside the world’s leading SnP brokers, from the largest through to even some of the smallest organisations around the globe, for a great many years. Each step of the development cycle is scrutinised and tested under real conditions, with changes being made based on the experience of our clients and the feedback they provide. The end result is software that fits in perfectly with the way an SnP broker works, regardless of whether he or she works alone, is part of a small team or through to some of the largest teams operating in multiple locations across the globe.
Until now, for SnP we have been offering ShipLink, software that reads all incoming messages, identifies vessels referred to therein, and then links those messages with those vessels in the broker’s ships database. When referring to a particular vessel in the ship’s database, a broker can therefore be confident that he or she will be able to see all messages that relate to that vessel, there being no delay whilst waiting for a manual update, all done with high accuracy. All this takes place 24/7 and immediately after a message arrives in an inbox.
However, we are now in a position to offer a whole range of products that incorporate some of the latest developments in AI. Our new suite of AI products are called PulseTM and we are confident that they deliver real value to SnP brokers. For a brief insight, first take a look at our PulseTMproduct page.
Amongst other things, CompassAir’s new PulseTM
• associates messages with particular vessels in the ship’s database (an enhanced version of the original ShipLink), • reads incoming messages and, having identified Commercial Advices, updates the ships database by tagging a vessel as being For Sale • first identifies and then creates Purchase Enquiries from incoming emails, filing them in the CompassAirdatabase • reads incoming Purchase Enquiries, stores them in the database, and makes the broker aware of what’s new • recommends matching vessels currently for sale in the broker’s ships database • recommends matching Purchase Enquiries to a ship that has just hit the SNP market • sends notifications to brokers by email, internal chat and on our CompassAir mobile app.
PulseTM is fully automated, with a very high degree of accuracy, in real time, 24/7!
To find out how CompassAir and PulseTM can add value to your organisation, to arrange a demonstration or just for more information please do contact us.
A few words about CompassAir
Creating solutions for the global maritime sector, CompassAir develops state of the art messaging and business application software designed to maximise ROI. Our software is used across the sector, including by Sale and Purchase brokers (S&P/SnP), Chartering brokers, Owners, Managers and Operators.
Through its shipping and shipbroking clients, ranging from recognised World leaders through to the smallest, most dynamic independent companies, CompassAir has a significant presence in the major maritime centres throughout Europe, the US and Asia.
Our flagship solution is designed to simplify collaboration for teams within and across continents, allowing access to group mailboxes at astounding speed using tools that remove the stress from handling thousands of emails a day. It can be cloud based or on premise. To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are new to shipping, or just want to find out more about this exciting and challenging sector, the CompassAirShipping Guide might prove to be an interesting read.
Contact us for more information or a short demonstration on how CompassAir can benefit your business, and find out how we can help your teams improve collaboration and increase productivity.