MOL and its group company MOL Information Systems, Ltd. have started operating a support system for car carrier allocation planning that relies on mathematical optimization that is an underlying technology of artificial intelligence (AI).
MOL operates one of the world’s largest car carrier fleets, with about 100 vessels. Ocean transport routes connecting automobile manufacturing plants and markets around the globe are diverse, and it is critical to keep the entire fleet operating at peak efficiency to meet the needs of customers worldwide. That means the MOL Group needs to simulate transport routes per vessel several months ahead of time and achieve optimal, fleetwide solutions from theoretically millions of possible combinations involving all of its vessels.
In cooperation with Professor Shunji Umetani of Osaka University, MOL developed an algorithm that elicits the optimal allocation plan from an enormous number of combinations using mathematical optimization and started the operation of a system based on the algorithm. The introduction of the system enables speedy decision making and greater flexibility in meeting changes in transport demand. In addition, improvement of fleet-wide efficiency reduces fuel consumption per unit transported, reducing the environmental impact of fleet operation.
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