Fujitsu, NYK slash labor time with automated stowage planning

Fujitsu and shipping firm Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) have rolled out Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer technology to significantly streamline complex stowage planning for car carriers, leveraging the technology’s combinatorial optimisation capabilities. 

The Digital Annealer is expected to play a role in automating aspects of the stowage planning process for NYK’s dedicated car carriers, an enormously complex task involving a vast number of possible stowage patterns depending on the number of vehicles loaded, models of vehicles, and the number of ports called along the shipping route. 

After successful initial tests, Fujitsu and NYK have launched a real-world operational trial of the technology with an aim to commence full-scale operational use in April 2022.

In these initial tests, they reduced the time it takes to create a stowage plan for a dedicated car carrier from 6 hours to 2.5 hours per ship.

They anticipate that this will result in a potential reduction of 4,000 working hours per year, allow for agile responses to sudden changes in plans, and prevent variations in stowage plan quality from person to person based on their relative experience and skill.

Moving forward, Fujitsu and NYK will continue working together to further improve the system by increasing processing speed and improving the accuracy of output results during trial operations. The two companies ultimately aim to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across the automobile shipping supply chain, improving the efficiency of cargo handling and ship operations to contribute to the realisation of a more sustainable future.

NYK is promoting the further improvement of highly safe navigation and efficiency through the digitisation of ships, as well as the reduction of environmental impact in accordance with its concept of “digitisation and green.”

In the future, NYK aims to improve efficiencies in cargo handling operations by creating higher precision loading plans by deepening synergies between the newly developed system and its individual in-house systems.

Fujitsu will continue to play an active role in NYK’s digitisation efforts to help enhance competitiveness in all industries.