Microsoft consultants to deliver AI-solution at Khalifa Port

08 July 2021 2 min. read

Experts from Microsoft’s internal consulting practice are helping Abu Dhabi Terminals leverage the cutting edge of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to optimise operations at Khalifa Port. 

Opened up in 2012, Khalifa Port is the main gateway for cargo to Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE. The port can currently manage 12 million tonnes of general cargo, and its management company – Abu Dhabi Terminals – hopes to bring this up to 35 million tonnes by 2030. 

The company has now taken a next step in realising this objective, adopting the potential of AI to shore up and optimise the vast traffic flowing through Khalifa Port. A new smart solution – built on Microsoft Azure cloud platform – paves the way for accurate container tracking in real-time, with a promise of 100% traceability.

Microsoft consultants to deliver AI-solution at Khalifa Port

The solution will also lay the foundation for a possible autonomous shuttle system at Khalifa Port in the future – cutting the manpower, energy and logistical prowess required to manage the sizeable port. Abu Dhabi Terminals has roped in experts from Microsoft Consulting Services to help implement the solution. 

CEO at Abu Dhabi Terminals Ahmed Al Mutawa explained the far-reaching benefits of the move. “By driving innovation through the implementation of artificial intelligence and automation, Abu Dhabi Terminals is committed to modernising our port environment, while also dramatically reducing our carbon footprint, and costs, as well as turnaround times for those accessing Khalifa Port.” 

“The support of the UAE Ministry of AI and our partnerships with world-leading technology providers such as Microsoft, not only future proofs our nation’s maritime assets and infrastructure, but enables Abu Dhabi Terminals and our shareholders at Abu Dhabi Ports to reap tremendous long-term benefits as we continue this exciting digital transformation journey.” 

Digital is key

The company is setting the tone for a much-needed transformation in ports – in the UAE and across the Middle East. Already in 2018, a Boston Consulting Group report explained how the Middle East – despite having one of the fastest growing ports sectors in the world – is struggling with utilisation and handling rates. 

The Covid-19 crisis has only intensified this struggle – and many position technology as the answer. As explained by Abu Dhabi Terminals’ chief automation office Arturo Garcia, the use of AI to solve this problem is a groundbreaking step. 

“AI and automation technology are not widely used in the port industry, but we firmly believe in its potential and are convinced that our approach will not only benefit Abu Dhabi Terminals and the UAE, but will extend to the entire shipping industry, transforming the way business is done.”