Steering through business processes in search of efficiencies

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The mighty Mississippi River is critical to the lifeblood of US and international economies, with 500 million short tons of domestic and imported goods loaded and discharged between its banks annually. Tricon Steamship Agency, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, plays a pivotal role in delivering and exporting those products that feed nations. Its onboard agents deftly navigate ships and their cargo throughout the 2,350-mile waterway and its intricate system of US Customs ports, Coast Guard areas and service providers across dozens of anchorages, docks, terminals and elevators. The operations hub of the vessel services agency manages ship logistics and the delivery of end-to-end services, from supply requisition and delivery, government, customs and cargo documentation completion, vessel husbandry maintenance and cargo protective services along the journey before, during and after the ship enters the Mississippi.

While Tricon has a stellar reputation as a maritime service agency, below the surface, the four-decade-old business navigates an operations and management system reliant on its small but mighty team’s institutional knowledge and often senior employees’ micromanagement of operational processes. Knowing its intellectual capital will be lost if employees retire or leave the company, Tricon needed documented, automated processes with the next best actions to enable much-needed industry and process knowledge sharing and to facilitate new operations and communications efficiencies.

Recently, Tricon turned to generative AI (gen AI) to explore how this cutting-edge technology can address the company’s unique challenges. What Tricon has found so far promises to transform its operations in ways that could have ripple effects across its business and extend to the shipping industry.

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