GLOBAL trends towards the use of artificial intelligence are likely to generate jobs in the ports sphere, a conference in Townsville has heard.

Peter Creeden, director of MPC International and a veteran of Hamburg Süd for more than two decades, said while the mainstream media was talking job losses, there was another side to the AI story.

“Most of the mainstream media is talking about 40% off all office jobs will be displaced or will go away by 2030,” Mr Creeden said.

“That is true based on today’s workforce. But in reality, there is going to be a lot more jobs created by AI and machine learning.

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“This is going to have a wider impact, mostly on financial markets, but especially in the shipping and supply chain market.”

Mr Creeden, a former member of the Shipping Australia policy council, said serious shortages of skills in cyber technology and cyber security were becoming apparent.

“One of the best terms I’ve heard: ‘we all need to find data wranglers’,” he said.

“We don’t need data scientists, we need data wranglers to help us purify and standardise the data.”

He said this was particularly true in terms of port automation.

“Port automation has started. Australia is leading the way with Brisbane being a fully-automated terminal.”

But Mr Creeden said terminals were already struggling to find people who could meet and handle this work

“[A] report from McKenzie’s [Group] really highlights the fact… – if we get automated ports correct, the whole supply chain benefits,” he said.

Mr Creeden spoke in Townsville as part of the Ports Australia Business and Operational Conference.

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