Automating Arrival Notifications with AIS & Artificial Intelligence


Since the inception of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) in the early 1970’s logistics professionals have always taken for granted the accuracy of EDI tracking transactions sent for various activities across their global supply chains.

But this may need to be rethought now that Satellites and AIS technology are being applied, and are capturing the “truth” about these activities, by monitoring actual ship movements and by comparing this to the related EDI arrival transactions for those same activities.

And somewhat surprisingly, the AIS Satellite data compared showed that on average the EDI transactions were sent one and a half days later than ships actual berthing day and time at port!

This was case in 90 percent of arrival transactions AND in the other 10% of arrivals it was discovered that NO EDI arrival transactions were even sent!

This revealing analysis and related discoveries were made by ClearMetal who’s solution utilized Spire Global‘s AIS Satellite data and artificial intelligence to capture the berth data at ports around the world.

First step in this analysis was to analyze over 2 billion AIS messages to determine a common stopping pattern which is consistent with and identifies when ships are berthing.

Once this was accomplished, pretty much all of the world’s major ports were then analyzed in order to identify all of the specific berth positions in those ports based on locations where these stopping patterns regularly occurred over an extended period.

See below aerial shot of the Port of Pasir Panjang, Singapore where the red dots indicate a vessel stop at berth. Orange circles indicate berth locations and Yellow dots indicate stops outside the port, when vessels are waiting their turn to berth.


Arrival times captured were compared with the EDI transactions for those arrivals to complete the comparison and highlight the significant disparity between the arrival times communicated and the actual arrival time of ships to berth locations.

So using all this technology to discover these disparities is all well and good, but how can the problems discovered actually be solved?

This is the brilliant part, where the same methodology that was used to capture this data can also now be used to automate the transmission of arrival transactions for 96% of arrivals and within an average of 5 hours of arrival, which is a 31 hour or 86% improvement in latency.

For the uninitiated, the specific benefits of making these improvements can be significant.
Some of the specific items which are impacted by these delays and can be improved include:

1. Container availability
2. Demurrage & Detention
3. Drayage
4. Deconsolidation

Saving more than a day on the above items delivers benefits to both port operators as well as shippers and carriers. Historically, the related delays and scheduling problems due to this uncertainty meant that these costs have been considered just the cost of doing business and simply factored into every shipment.

More specifically, these improvements can positively impact on margins, personnel efficiency, and gross revenue for all of the players in global supply chains and port ecosystems.

On more of a macro level, understanding where every berth around the world has the potential to further leverage machine learning and AI on top of historical data to make individual berth predictions:

1. Carriers who must use specific berths only may experience delays if those berths are full even though other berths in the port are open and available.

2. More distant or hard to reach berths within ports, or difficulties in reaching specific berths, can negatively impact arrival predictions and availability.

3. Provides an accurate overall performance and port congestion measurement methodology to quantify port productivity as well as congestion based on the number of berths versus the total number of ships waiting to be unloaded and the average elapsed time between berth cycles at any given port.

Already, users of this new supply chain visibility solution have been able to see reductions in these port related fees of 20 to 50% which can represent millions of expense dollars currently allocated to the landed cost of goods.


There’s nothing better than being able to drive hard improvements and benefits utilizing these advanced AIS and Satellite technologies to get logistics professionals on board and then expand potential uses across global supply chains.

Most of us in the major retail, import/export, freight and global transportation businesses are “From Missouri” and like to be shown the proof around major breakthroughs like this.

So with this goal in mind there’s a free webinar coming up on October 17th at 12 noon ET to share details on the methodology used and how it can now effectively automate arrival transactions at ports around the world!

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