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Investments of $29 million: SCALE AI advances the transition to AI with five new projects



Investments of $29 million: SCALE AI advances the transition to AI with five new projects. Image: Unsplash
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After more than $120 million invested during its first year, SCALE AI continues its work in leveraging AI (artificial intelligence), and announces investments of an additional $29 million in five new projects, including the participating companies’ contributions. This represents more than $9 million directly committed by SCALE AI to supporting the implementation of AI, through the collaboration of established Canadian companies. 

Each example illustrates how AI can bring productivity gains and growth in all sectors, from forecasting demand to reducing waste or improving productivity, including deployment of an intelligent supply chain in minerals and metals, a project that stands out from Optel Group, with a total investment of $16.6 million. 

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, stated, “Innovative new SCALE AI projects are bringing together partners across industries ranging from metallurgy to retail, including twenty small and medium-sized enterprises. The new partnerships are a testament to the supercluster’s convening power. These collaborations are sustaining SCALE AI’s momentum, driving innovation and contributing to Canada’s leadership and growth in the emerging field of artificial intelligence.” 

Highlighting the initiative and leadership of Quebec companies, Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation of Quebec, said, “Artificial intelligence will fundamentally transform industrial processes and the global economy in the coming years. The related technologies can be applied in a multitude of fields and will have major repercussions. Fostering growth means enabling companies to take advantage of new technologies and become more competitive in foreign markets.”

The Quebec government has provided financial assistance totaling $83.4 million to support the activities of SCALE AI until 2023. 

Julien Billot, CEO of SCALE AI, noted, “Things are moving fast. Now we see the first concrete results and how the success of the early adopters has inspired new projects on an increasingly large scale. Our team is enthusiastic about the diversity of the projects in which we have invested—big and small, and coming from all sectors. The five projects announced today, representing total investments of $29 million, illustrate this trend and the accelerated pace of growth we are experiencing in all our programs.”

Hélène Desmarais, Co-Chair of the SCALE AI Board of Directors, added, “SCALE AI’s mission is to create the conditions for a sustainable AI ecosystem in Canada. We are very happy with the results. With more than $120 million in investments announced since the launch of our co- investment programs, we see that the leveraged effects are even greater than anticipated, as companies commit beyond our expectations.” 

Five projects representing investments of $29 Million 

With artificial intelligence still in its early stages of development, the projects supported by SCALE AI show the added value of collaborative partnerships in developing practical and relevant solutions. Altogether, over 30 key partners have taken part in the rollout of these projects, including the participating companies, consultancies, research centres and business partners (customers and suppliers). 

Here is an overview of the projects supported:

Smart supply chain for metals and minerals sector Partners: Optel Group Associati Canadian is Aluminum , Laserax , Lithion Recycling , Laval University , SmartyfAI

Port logistics optimization tool Partners: Montreal Port Authority, Société des Terminaux de Montreal , Canscan , EI Systems , Termont

Real-time demand forecasting and inventory management in retail stores Partners

Find Innovation, Prof Chi-Guhn Lee, Pacific West Commercial Corporation, Boathouse Apparel, Cook Culture Ltd, Bella Group, Plenty Apparel, Purdy’s

AI-based forecasting platform to improve supply chain efficiency Partners:

Fleet Complete, Pitstop, Sensata, NPL Canada, Superior Propane

Smart platform to improve the drug distribution chain

Pharmaplus Distribution, Horizon Santé Group , SM Pharmacy, CS and AP Inc, Sodan IT Consultants , Thales Digital Solutions

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Milaha signs key deal with major oilfield services firm




Milaha signs key deal with major oilfield services firm. Image: MILAHA
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Milaha, one of the largest Maritime and Logistics Organizations in the Middle East, has entered into a formal agreement to cooperate with leading American oilfield services firm, Schlumberger Limited.

The Offshore & Marine pillar of Milaha signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will support value building projects while jointly driving Tawteen initiatives for Qatar. Led by Qatar Petroleum, the “Tawteen” program aims to localize the energy sector’s supply chain and create new investment opportunities to retain ‘economic value’ in Qatar.

Signed as a five-year joint development project, it will include a Qatar-owned, Qatar-flagged and Qatar-operated Oil Well Stimulation Vessel. The first of these vessels will be designed and outfitted in the country, creating the inaugural FLEXSTIM platform, which will be modified, owned and operated locally.

Pre-engineering for this significant scheme has already begun and will evolve during the final quarter of 2020.

The resulting Qatar-owned value chain will be a joint service that enhances the expertise of a global multinational service firm like Schlumberger as well as the leading Qatar-based multi-disciplined local service company like Milaha.

With over 70 years of presence in Qatar, Schlumberger supplies the petroleum industry with several key services such as seismic acquisition and processing, well testing and directional drilling, artificial lifts, well completions and groundwater extraction.

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HHLA invests in the Adriatic Port of Trieste



HHLA invests in the Adriatic Port of Trieste. Image: HHLA
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The Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) is taking a majority stake of 50.01 percent in the multi-function terminal “Piattaforma Logistica Trieste” (PLT) in the Italian seaport of Trieste. An agreement was signed on 28 September. The investment will be allocated contractually and organisationally to HHLA International GmbH. With this investment, HHLA is positioning itself in a growing market on the Adriatic whose strategic position offers great opportunities for development. This will be HHLA’s third participation in a port outside Hamburg after Odessa (Ukraine) and Tallinn (Estonia).

Angela Titzrath, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board: “The Adriatic region has been developing very dynamically in the past few years. As the northernmost port in the Mediterranean, Trieste is the southern gateway to Central and Eastern Europe. The investment is a strategic expansion to our existing port and intermodal network. The terminal gives us the opportunity to actively participate in and help shape new and changing cargo flows and underline our ambitions to grow internationally. At the same time, we will continue to enhance our terminals in Hamburg by investing in facilities and technology. We are a Hamburg company, at home in Europe and operating globally.”

Francesco Parisi, Chairman of PLT’s Executive Board: “HHLA’s participation strengthens the growth prospects of PLT and of the entire Port of Trieste. Our development strategy in the direction of Central and Eastern Europe fits in with HHLA’s orientation. The position of the new partners confirms us in the development of the terminal expansion we are pushing ahead with.”

The terminal facilities are within the Free Port of Trieste and take up a total area of 28 hectares. In the northern part of the facilities, mainly general cargo transports and logistic services are being handled. The new heart of the terminal is emerging in the southern part: the newly developed area will start operations in the first quarter of 2021 and is designed to handle container and RoRo traffic. The capacity of the PLT terminal will then comprise a total of approximately 300,000 TEU (standard containers), 90,000 RoRo units and 700,000 tonnes of general cargo. There is also the option to significantly expand terminal capacity through additional adjacent areas.

The strategically relevant position of the Port of Trieste on the Adriatic also allows for excellent development opportunities in hinterland transport. The PLT terminal has its own rail connection. The HHLA rail subsidiary Metrans already connects the Port of Trieste with its European intermodal network.

The transaction is subject to various conditions precedent and is expected to close in January 2021.

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Sea Machines and Metal Shark to supply USCG R&D center with new autonomous vessel



Sea Machines and Metal Shark to supply USCG R&D center with new autonomous vessel. Image: Sea Machines Robotics
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Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics announces today that it has partnered with shipbuilder Metal Shark Boats, of Jeanerette, Louisiana, to supply the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)’s Research and Development Center with a new Sharktech 29 Defiant vessel for the purposes of testing and evaluating the capabilities of available autonomous vessel technology.

The 29-foot, welded-aluminum monohull pilothouse vessel comes equipped with the Sea Machines SM300 autonomous-command and remote-helm control technology, offering the USCG a full range of advanced capabilities – including transit autonomy, collaborative autonomy, collision avoidance and remote vessel monitoring.

The RDC helps transition innovative technologies and provides premier analysis and decision support to enhance operational performance across all Coast Guard missions. During demonstrations scheduled for October off the coast of Hawaii, the RDC team will test and evaluate the Sharktech vessel’s autonomous capabilities for their potential in supporting USCG surveillance, interdiction, patrol and other missions. Following the Hawaii demonstrations, the autonomous vessel will be returned to the RDC’s New London facility, where it will be used in additional testing to investigate application to various Coast Guard missions.

“As the premier USCG facility performing research, development, test and evaluation in support of the service’s major missions, the RDC team is eager to observe Sea Machines’ system in action,” said USCG’s Derek Meier, assistant demonstration director. “The exercises will ultimately help us determine how, when, and if this innovative technology can be used to support personnel who are executing a variety of Coast Guard activities.”

“Sea Machines is proud to actively support government agencies across a variety of projects and to expand that support to the Department of Homeland Security with this important demonstration being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Sea Machines’ Phil Bourque, director, sales. “Our systems are being rapidly adopted by government and commercial operators alike, offering increases in on-water productivity and predictability, while reducing operational risk.”

“Since the launch of our Sharktech Autonomous Vessels division in 2018 we have been working to position Metal Shark for the autonomy revolution,” said Metal Shark’s CEO Chris Allard. “We are committed to the advancement of autonomous technology, through our relationships with leading autonomy suppliers as well as through our own R&D, and we are engaged with multiple customers, from the USCG, the Department of Defense and commercial operators. With this latest delivery, Metal Shark is proud to play a role in the Coast Guard’s autonomous technology R&D efforts.”

In 2019, Sea Machines partnered with Metal Shark to make available the Sharktech 29 Defiant vessel to commercial markets, under Metal Shark’s stock boat program. Most recently, in July, Sea Machines partnered with Huntington Ingalls Industries to accelerate the deployment of self-piloting technologies in the rising market of unmanned naval boats and ships.

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