Supply chain logjams are currently causing disruption, shortages and inflationary cost pressures across the globe. In a major step toward solving this global problem, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) has successfully demonstrated an approach to the more sustainable transportation of goods.

The solution hinges on applying Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired technology to accelerate logistics flows, which reduces port traffic congestion and cuts CO2 emissions.

Working with Fujitsu, HPA has proven the potential to reduce congestion in its harbor area. Applying Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer technology and services to real traffic data, HPA has established the possibility of optimizing traffic throughput across the harbor area, while still leveraging the existing traffic control infrastructure.

Instead of local management of individual traffic-light managed crossings, the quantum-inspired approach optimizes the entire grid. This significantly cuts dwell times for ships, trucks and cars, resulting in faster supply chain interactions – and leads to lower levels of greenhouse gases.

Through the use of the Fujitsu Digital Annealer, the HPA has noted significant improvements in areas including:

* Reduced travel time up to 15% for cars and trucks in the supply chain;

* Faster journeys to and from work for employees;

* Lower CO2 emissions from trucks and cars;

* Faster turnaround for container ships leading to increased flow of goods;

* Greater capacity to handle trucks in the confined space of the HPA; and

* Less traffic congestion within the harbor area.

The approach is a world-first for HPA, which is developing a new, holistic way to optimise all its available infrastructure of roads, crossings and bridges controlled by traffic lights. These are within an environment constrained by tight geographical limits, the cost of shipping schedule overruns, and specific maritime factors such as tides.

Hermann Grünfeld, head of traffic management at HPA, says: “With the global demand for transportation growing relentlessly year on year, logistics infrastructure owners and operators, like HPA, have to find solutions to the challenge of a finite physical footprint for most assets.

“It’s a common supply chain issue today and will get more important in the coming years. At the same time, we are seeking to reduce our carbon footprint as part of global efforts to address the climate emergency.

“Optimisation is the logical way to address both these challenges. By working with Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired optimisation services, we are delighted about the new capabilities to deliver greater capacity for our supply chain partners as well as lowering CO2 emissions.”

HPA traffic optimisation is calculated by the Fujitsu Digital Annealer. The Graz University of Technology with its research focus on traffic planning has provided comprehensive support to all stakeholders throughout the process.

Dr Joseph Reger, chief technology officer: Central & Eastern Europe at Fujitsu, comments: “Finding and delivering sustainable solutions for business and society is at the core of Fujitsu’s Purpose. Working with HPA, we have demonstrated the possibility and wider potential of applying quantum algorithms to the logistics industry.

“The business and environmental benefits we are developing with HPA show that Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired optimization services deliver results today – years, perhaps even a decade, ahead of the timetable for commercially usable quantum computers. These are improvements available today right across the Mobility sector – not just in maritime logistics.”