Fujitsu and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), a major global shipping company, announced the introduction of Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer technology to significantly streamline complex stowage planning for car carriers, leveraging the technology’s combinatorial optimization capabilities.
The Digital Annealer will 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 initial tests, NYK contributed its decades of industry experience to work with Fujitsu to develop a new algorithm for the Digital Annealer, which the partners leveraged to successfully reduce the time it takes to create a stowage plan for a dedicated car carrier from 6 hours to 2.5 hours per ship. The companies 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 realization of a more sustainable future.