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The Natural Evolution of Gen AI for the Maritime Ecosystem 

ChatGPT exploded on the scene, followed by many other apps and solutions, and suddenly it seemed like everyone in the world, including the maritime and supply chain/logistics ecosystems, was talking about Generative AI (Gen AI). 

All of the noise has made it difficult to determine what is real. Even if you were ready to dive in and decide upon an approach, do your current data handling processes even make it feasible to proceed with Gen AI? And what are the real-world insights and business benefits that would justify adoption? 

Windward’s eBook will: 

  • Highlight Gen AI adoption challenges
  • Present the winning data strategy
  • Explain how this relatively new technology can: 
    • Streamline workflows
    • Enhance productivity
    • Provide targeted, actionable intelligence 

We will also introduce MAI Expert™, the industry’s first maritime Gen AI agent. This generally available capability is a virtual maritime-risk subject matter expert. Read on to see how your organization can naturally evolve with Gen AI

Beyond the Buzz(word) to the ROI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) was discussed and presented in what seemed like every session and booth during Gartner’s Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo in Barcelona. AI is already changing the maritime and supply chain/logistics ecosystems, empowering operators to automate processes, strategize proactively, and cut costs. 

While many leading companies have already integrated AI tools into their products or pledged to do so in the near future, only a handful of companies have incorporated Generative AI (Gen AI) into their offerings. There are some great discussions about Gen AI that are happening, but it is also apparent that the term is in danger of being turned into a buzzword that is thrown around too freely and sometimes in a misleading fashion. 

It’s understandable why people in the maritime and logistics ecosystems are so intrigued by the benefits of Gen AI. A recent Deloitte survey found that Gen AI applications offer excellent return on investment (ROI), including: 

Numbers

Curation is the Cure for Data Issues

A joint webinar featuring experts from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Windward had a recurring theme: data is the foundation and differentiator when it comes to successful Gen AI adoption. 

Vadim Tereshchuk, Solutions Architect at AWS, stressed that Gen AI applications are just the tip of the iceberg, the part that customers see – but these applications are built on a lot of data behind the scenes. 

“When you start speaking about Gen AI, it’s all about the data,” added Eric Topp, Head of Worldwide Solutions & Strategy, Transportation & Logistics, AWS.  “There’s this big rush to do something with Gen AI from leadership, but if you don’t have the right foundation and cleanse your data, harmonize it, and hydrate your data lake properly, you can take a really good Gen AI application and turn it into something that’s worthless, because your data is not good. You can ask a question, and you’ll get an answer. It just might not be the right answer because the data is incorrect.” 

A top-down approach is now needed. In the shipping world, many organizations have totally relied on buying data from third-party data sellers. The Gen AI conversation flips this story. Instead of merely asking, “Which data can you give me?” or “Can you tell me where this ship is going and what it’s doing?”, the focus has shifted to, “Which problem are we really trying to solve with the sea of data that exists?” 

Organizations are taking a fresh look at data lakes, applications, and needs.

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Curated data is the cure – this approach combines domain knowledge and advanced technology. Instead of relying solely on raw data, Windward uses labeled datasets, customer data, and quality assurance processes to train our vertical AI models. Vertical AI generates domain-specific insights and answers, which is critical in the complex, interdependent shipping industry. This overall methodology ensures higher accuracy and reliability, meeting the detailed demands of the maritime industry.

Structured vs. Unstructured Data

Trust in AI output has been a significant topic of discussion, underscoring the importance of reliable and transparent AI systems, and experienced vendors. Clean, harmonized, and well-hydrated data lakes are essential. Without a solid data foundation, and an ability to deliver the right insights at the right times, even the most advanced AI applications can deliver inaccurate or misleading results, undermining their potential benefits. 

Effective technology must be able to handle and process structured and unstructured data. 

Structured data – such as vessel schedules, AIS data, and freight rates in the ocean logistics ecosystem – is organized in predefined formats and typically stored in databases. This organization facilitates systematic access, querying, and analysis, and supports the development of AI models.

Unstructured data – including text documents and contracts, such as digital bills of lading (BoL) and port contracts between freight companies and carriers, and between freight companies and their customers – requires more sophisticated handling

This often involves using vector databases and embedding models to filter and extract relevant information. Managing unstructured data is a daunting task because of the convoluted processes involved. Despite the enormous potential for business growth, many companies are deterred by the time-consuming nature of these processes.

Integrating unstructured data into vector databases using embedding models helps filter and extract valuable information from text documents. Unstructured data can improve Gen AI’s performance, as it provides more context and data for training the models.

Vessel insights

Which Problems Are We Trying to Solve?

Maintaining consistent workflows is particularly challenging when it involves repetitive tasks. This difficulty is amplified in expertise-specific domains, such as the shipping industry, where accurate decisions can take time, and time equals significant sums of money. This problem, together with the complexity and vastness of possible risks in the maritime ecosystem, raises three main challenges for stakeholders: 

Decreased productivity: evolving risk management requirements have significantly increased interactions between stakeholders across the supply chain. With a shortage of experts to manage these communications and increased due diligence complexity, relevant teams face productivity challenges with vessel risk screening and communication that can be extremely time consuming. 

Lack of human resources expertise: according to Gartner, one of the key challenges in the industry is hiring and training team members. Maritime is a specialized area, where the need for sanctions and risk experts far exceeds the supply. Organizations are struggling to hire, train and onboard experts – both in terms of speed and depth of domain understanding.

Counterparty communications: increased interactions between stakeholders and their counterparties has raised a standardization challenge. To increase efficiency, and maintain alignment, organizations must standardize their approach and queries to counterparties.

Once organizations recognize their specific challenges, advanced technologies, such as AI, can speed onboarding and training, and raise productivity among current employees.

Introducing MAI Expert™

To address these challenges, Windward has expanded our Maritime AI™ portfolio to introduce Windward Gen AI AgentMAI Expert™. The industry’s FIRST Gen AI agent is a virtual maritime risk subject matter expert that leverages Windward’s proprietary AI models and human expertise, using innovative Gen AI engines. It is generally available now. 

Designed for precision and efficiency, MAI Expert™ empowers your decision-making with comprehensive risk assessments and insight summaries. It seamlessly integrates a reliable maritime and risk expert into your daily workflows and automates repetitive tasks to offer a strategic edge, and reliability.

MAI Expert™ provides a tangible ROI per user that starts from 5 times for small organizations and up to 88 times for large ones with a significant screening volume.

MAI Expert™ in Action

This cutting-edge technology can be used for solving many maritime obstacles. We thought it made sense to start with one of the most common actions in the maritime ecosystem, vessel screening.

The secret sauce: a Gen AI agent can only be as good as its foundational data and instructions on what to extract. We have paired our proprietary, AI-driven knowledge-base with a unique, sanctions-focused prompt created by maritime risk experts. 

The prompt instructs MAI Expert™ to consider the following risk and maritime aspects:

  • General maritime knowledge: ownership, vessels, ports, state control, P&I insurance, ownership structures, and more 
  • Sanctions knowledge: deceptive shipping practices, OFAC-specific regulations and advisories, UK and OFSI advisories, and EU advisories 
  • Windward’s unique product knowledge: Organization Defined Risk (ODR), Windward activities, and AI models. ODR enables users to tailor behavioral indicators to meet their unique business and risk needs. Indicators can be applied to both behavioral and static screening data sets

Powered by our expertise, sanctions-focused prompt and unique data, MAI Expert™ can reduce vessel screening and investigation times by 20 minutes per screening on average via the following capabilities: 

  • Risk assessment: quickly generate a vessel risk assessment and insight summary, highlighting any gaps that may raise suspicion, notable discrepancies, and issues requiring escalated investigations, such as a company’s lack of insurance, or a recent suspicious vessel ownership change.

 

Risk assessment
  • Email inquiry drafts: auto-generate query email drafts with selectable templates – communications to an insurance company, shipowner, client, etc. –  and conversational tones. These can be sent to counterparties, offering a review of vague and open issues with a vessel(s). By ensuring consistency in both external and internal communications, MAI Expert™ acts as a reliable standard
Email inquiry
  • Adverse media screening: media screening for negative news across various public media sources. 
Adverse media

These above capabilities greatly alleviate the problems of decreased productivity and human resources deficiencies. The agent functions as a valuable training tool and streamlines onboarding processes, because employees no longer need to spend huge amounts of time understanding the intricacies of the maritime risk domain, and learning how to manually assess exposure to risk. 

Stakeholders can save 20 minutes per pre- and post-fixture screening process with the risk summaries and adverse media screening, enabling teams to complete more vessel screenings per day and increase business opportunities and growth. The auto-generated emails will also save time and resources, while ensuring clear communication, and full transparency of decision-making processes. 

This is Only the Beginning…

It’s a natural evolution for Windward, the leading Maritime AI™ company, to help pioneer the application of Generative AI to the maritime and ocean freight spheres. Some companies were excited to start talking about Gen AI following the Chat GPT explosion – we’ve been developing AI models since 2015. 

We have been thinking and talking about Gen AI’s potential to transform logistics and the maritime industry for a long time with our existing and potential customers, as well as partners. Windward possesses the knowledge, tools, and expertise to help solve the unstructured data challenge, providing our customers with a solid foundation for Gen AI success. 

Gen AI will play a key part in our journey and product strategy. By expanding our Maritime AI™ portfolio with Gen AI solutions, we will harness the power of our industry-leading AI models and technological foundation to deliver unparalleled productivity, and seamless digitalization and automation of the risk management domain.

Vertical AI + Gen AI = full control. But you and your organization can evolve naturally by first focusing on a specific area/use case – risk mitigation. 

The Gradual Approach & Precise Use Cases 

Windward recommends a gradual approach to adopting Gen AI. Scaling gradually allows companies to integrate it effectively, without overwhelming their existing systems. A strategic implementation of new technologies via a partnership with an industry leader is a best practice. 

To unlock Gen AI’s true potential, businesses must zero in on precise use cases. Organizations should identify exactly how AI can serve their unique needs. We are envisioning a world in which a Gen AI search engine agent could offer unparalleled access to unstructured data, enabling you to do much more with your data across the supply chain and global trade. 

As the ecosystem evolves, Gen AI conversations and implementations are expected to become more sophisticated, driving meaningful advances. Do you have good ideas about how generative AI could be utilized? Hit us up on social media and let us know!

I Want to See More on Gen AI!