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The Virtual Watch Tower: AI Transforms Shipping Data

17 April 2024, 10:20

The Virtual Watch Tower prototype will be presented at Singapore Maritime Week 2024. Research Institutes RISE (Sweden), VTT (Finland) and A*STAR’s Institute of High-Performance Computing (IHPC) (Singapore) spearhead the Virtual Watch Tower initiative to build resiliency along international trade corridors and supply chain networks while improving carbon footprint.

The Virtual Watch Tower (VWT) is a new digital tool built on advanced AI integration to improve maritime transport efficiencies and build more resilient chains while helping to decarbonise the maritime industry's supply chain and logistics. The prototype is presented for the first time at the Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2024. Dubbed the Virtual Watch Tower (VWT), this technology-driven initiative will tackle shared challenges along corridors and international supply chain and logistics networks.

- The Virtual Watch Tower (VWT) project was conceptualised to develop a solution to enhance cargo visibility, tracking, and early warning for potential disruptions in the maritime supply chain. A collaboration between A*STAR’s IHPC and RISE under the SMI-RISE Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2022, the solution seeks to foster collaborative decision-making amongst the various stakeholders in the supply chain. The unveiling of the VWT prototype during Singapore Maritime Week marks a significant milestone, and we look forward to the transformation it will bring to the maritime landscape, says Mr Tan Cheng Peng, Executive Director of the Singapore Maritime Institute.

VWT is financed by national funders SMI and Vinnova and supported by technology companies Transporeon, Marine Benchmark, YLOAD, and Fujitsu. Scania, Here Technologies, Einride, Chalmers, and the University of Gothenburg are co-shaping digital solutions and community governance.

- Transport is part of the shippers' Scope 3, which typically accounts for 90% of their emissions. VWT aims to become the primary data-sharing community, allowing for more accurate CO2e calculations. This is an enormous challenge to everyone in the end-to-end supply chain who must contribute primary data for this to work – from ports to trucks and terminal operators. Need to calculate their emissions to comply with regulations, reduce their carbon footprint, and help shippers calculate their Scope 3 emissions, explains Mikael Lind, RISE, Research Institute of Sweden.

VWT's primary goal is to drive on-demand collaboration around specific shipments based on data sharing through a push mechanism, with complete data control staying with the VWT community members. The objective is to offer situational awareness of essential transport and logistics assets, such as cargo and containers. VWT aims to help facilitate collaborative decision-making among stakeholders based on improved data insights. This will generate logistics control towers for end-to-end operational logistics and supply chain monitoring and intelligent resilience among global supply chain actors by sharing private data enriched by public data.

The VWT initiative was born out of a call for action from the shipping industry. Global supply chains have been tremendously disrupted in recent years, with reliability in ocean shipping plummeting from around 70 % pre-pandemic to 30 %. The lack of data visibility exacerbates these disruptions and inadequate reporting of port backlogs, inclement weather, and other disruptions. To bring clarity to this information vacuum is where the value of the Virtual Watch Tower lies: in providing automated, real-time updates on supply to all parties, as well as an integrated standard platform to effect solutions, the software increases not only the visibility but also the legibility of shipping data.


Press contact:

Kenneth Lind, RISE,


About the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)

RISE is Sweden’s research institute and innovation partner. Through our international collaboration programmes with industry, academia and the public sector, we ensure the competitiveness of the Swedish business community on an international level and contribute to a sustainable society. Our nearly 3,000 employees engage in and support all innovation processes. RISE is an independent, State-owned research institute offering unique expertise and 130 testbeds and demonstration environments for future-proof technologies, products and services. For more information, please visit


About VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (VTT)

VTT is a visionary research, development and innovation partner and one of the leading research organisations in Europe. Our more than 2,000 professionals work to develop systemic and technological solutions that can bring about fundamental transformation. Your R&D partner in sustainable growth We help you to science up your solutions and achieve tomorrow’s breakthroughs. We promise to always think beyond the obvious. For more information, please visit


About Stora Enso

Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world. We believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Stora Enso has approximately 22,000 employees and our sales in 2021 were EUR 10.2 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm AB (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY).


About the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI)

The Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) is a joint effort by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). Established in April 2011, SMI develops strategies and programmes to achieve its mission with key focus areas in sectors such as port, shipping and maritime services. SMI charts the maritime research strategy and promotes greater industry-academia research and development (R&D) collaborations to be undertaken in Singapore. Through a whole-of-government approach, SMI drives initiatives with industry-wide impacts to enhance the overall competitiveness of the local maritime industry, and to strengthen research and development (R&D) capabilities in support of Singapore as a global maritime knowledge hub. For more information, please visit