The Port of Montreal is the largest port in Eastern Canada. Each year, more than 2,000 vessels drop anchor and deliver some 38 million tonnes of cargo from 140 countries making it the hub in the region’s transportation network. To facilitate such a sizeable load, the port operates its own railroad—100 kilometres of track that link the docks to the region’s transportation network of terminals, trains and trucks, making the port a linchpin in Canada’s overall supply chain. When COVID-19 struck Canada, the bustling port was put to its severest test in generations.
An immediate and intelligent response to the COVID-19 crisis
The urgency created by COVID-19 meant that vast amounts of food, medicine and personal protective equipment would arrive at the Port of Montreal. What is more, the port would need to improve the synchronicity between ships, trains and trucks to get these critical supplies on their way to homes, stores, hospitals and other points across Canada as quickly as possible. The port reacted immediately. A vital component in its response was Cargo2AI, an innovative solution with humanitarian intent.
For more than a year, port authorities have used Cargo2AI to swiftly identify containers stocked with critical COVID-fighting cargo before vessels arrived in the port. The successful AI-based solution has also ensured the port’s entire supply chain is aware of the presence of these critical supplies, further facilitating their timely and successful distribution to awaiting terminals, trains and trucks. With a 50% reduction in wait time at the dock, this completed tool allowed strategic goods to pass more quickly through the supply chain enabling life-saving medicine and equipment to make their way to those who needed them most.
An innovation ecosystem rallies together
Cargo2AI is the product of a burgeoning AI innovation ecosystem in Canada’s transportation industry. Four organizations critical to the region’s transportation logistics recognized the need for the solution: Montreal Port Authority (which oversees the port), CargoM (a local transport and logistics hub), Montreal Gateways Terminal Partnership (a container terminal operator), and Termont (a container terminal operator). The partners then called on IVADO Labs to transform their critical need into a successful AI solution.
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Smarter ports across the country
Together, they created an algorithm that not only enabled the port to move lifesaving supplies faster than ever, but also put in place the groundwork to revolutionize the marine-train-truck supply chain. In short order, the solution has become a flagship of innovation aimed to facilitate global trade, and it is in the country’s best interest that ports throughout Canada adopt it, which will further cement Canada’s position as a global leader in artificial intelligence.
Indeed, the solution was designed to be scalable, and could eventually expand beyond the scope of COVID-19 supplies to optimize the predictability of strategic goods arriving at and transiting through the port. Scale AI—one of the country’s five innovation Superclusters—is an original investor in this project and its exciting advance in Canada’s AI innovation ecosystem.
Streamlining Montreal’s transportation supply chain, the Cargo2AI solution:
- Identifies and prioritizes cargo within designated containers even before vessels reach port
- Ensures all links on the transportation supply chain are notified of critical cargo
- Facilitates swift distribution of critical goods to markets by trains and trucks