Microsoft-OOCL Partnership to Develop Shipping AI


Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), Microsoft’s research arm, and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) have announced a partnership to apply artificial intelligence (AI) research to the shipping industry.

The collaboration between the technology giant and the Hong Kong-based international container transportation, logistics and terminal company will involve over 200 AI developers over the next 12 months.

OOCL has stated that AI is the key its digital transformation vision, with a talent base to support its claim, as it has over 1,000 developers located in San Jose, Hong Kong, Zhuhai, Shanghai and Manila.

The carrier has also used machine learning for several years, supported by a hybrid cloud infrastructure with auto-switching and auto-scaling throughout its businesses.

OOCL processes and analyzes over 30 million vessel data every month, and by leveraging AI technology and machine learning, the company develops predictive analytics on vessel schedules and berth activities.


(L-R) Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong; Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft, Chairman of Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group, and Managing Director of MSRA; Steve Siu, Chief Information Officer of OOCL and Chief Executive Officer of CargoSmart; Dr. David Chung, JP, Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Albert Wong, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation


Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong, said: “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.

“The partnership between MSRA and OOCL demonstrates our strong progress in revolutionizing the shipping industry.”

MSRA is Microsoft’s fundamental and applied research arm in the Asia Pacific region and the 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.



Steve Siu, Chief Information Officer of OOCL (pictured above), said: “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.

“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.”

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, said: “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.

“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.”

Read more: TBA has integrated its machine learning technology, the Yard Crane Scheduler (YCS), into the operations of one of the largest rubber-tired gantry (RTG) crane terminals in the world

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