Finding the Right Cargo Vessels Using Big Data

Big Data

Aerial view of containers being transferred at a cargo vessel / Photo by Getty Images


Americas for RightShip, a company that specializes in the vetting of cargo vessels, is using big data analytics tools that are also being used in the real-time analysis of tennis games. By using IBM’s predictive analytics platform, the Sugar Land company is predicting the possibility that cargo ships will suffer mechanical or compliance problems within the next twelve months. It is also using the IBM platform in evaluating ship efficiency and carbon emissions, according to Andrea Rumbaugh, writing for the Houston Chronicle. 

The company was established by BHP and Rio Tinto in 2002 to answer the need for safer vessels after cargo ships started sinking off the coast of Australia in the late 1990s.

It uses a rating system for grading cargo ships, awarding a star to ships that are bound to encounter problems within the next twelve months and five stars to those that are not likely to have one. The ratings are made possible by integrating big data with the vast knowledge of a very knowledgeable RightShip superintendent. The big data come from 50 sources that include government agencies, vessel operators, and trade associations. Such data cover incidents, casualties, inspections, and owners or operators. 

Through such a system, the company was able to eliminate more than a thousand defective vessels from being used by customers in 2017. Furthermore, even if eight percent of the one-star rated vessels sustained troubles in 2017, only less than one percent of the five-starred vessels had incidents. 

Captain Anuj Chopra, the company’s vice-president, said their rating system is far from perfect but they are improving it. The system can be customized to adapt to a company’s particular risk factors. For instance, Huntsman Corp which manufactures specialty chemicals does not allow its products to be shipped on vessels that are more than 25 years old. What RightShip will do is confirm the correct age of vessels based on Huntsman’s specifications. For ships that are more than 15 years old, it will verify if the ship has been inspected within the last six months before approving it for use of its customers.