Seeking novel proposals for automated inspection of shipping containers at container depots

  • Innoget
  • From European Union
  • Responsive
  • Project Size Range : Strategic project backed by large scale funding €
  • Deadline completed
    The submission process for new proposals is closed. Proposals submitted before the deadline will follow the standard evaluation process.

Desired outcome

The solution should result in significant time savings and reduce the reliance on manual labour for the container inspection process, hence improving the depot’s handling capacity. The solution should also reduce/eliminate risky activities such as working at height or movement under the container trailer chassis. Being able to remotely/autonomously inspect the containers will make the job more attractive too.



There are about 11 shipping container depot operators in Singapore, operating around 20 container depot yards. At each of these yards, the inspection of containers (20 ft and 40 ft) for defects is carried out manually by a surveyor, in accordance to standards such as the Technical Reference 39 (TR 39 [1], developed by the Singapore Standards Council, Logistics Technical Committee), Cargo Worthy Standards by Shipping Lines or relevant IICL Standards (Institute of International Container Lessors). On average, about 3 to 5 surveyors are deployed to inspect containers at each of the container depot yards.

Existing Process

On average, about 100 to 200 containers are inspected daily for defects or damages. Generally, about 30 to 40% of the containers are expected to have some form of defects or damages that should be detected and identified.

The existing inspection process is carried out by visual survey on all visible areas of the container, interior and exterior.The estimated time taken to inspect each container may range from 5 to 10 mins (no defects), 20 minutes (minor defects) and up to around 40 minutes (serious defects). Inspection is typically carried out under daylight with containers mounted on trailers. Common defects or damages may include dents, deformations, or visible spillages of liquids.

Further details on the reporting criteria for conditions of containers can be found in TR 39 [1].

As the inspection may include some work at heights, the appropriate safety considerations for fall prevention would have to be put in place. Other challenges include inspection of the undersides of container surfaces which may be obscured from view unless the surveyor accesses under the trailer chassis.

The solution sought should be able to inspect the container autonomously or remotely, effectively detect, assess and classify the defects on containers and tag the findings to the containers based on their identification numbers. Ideally, the number of surveyors required per inspection yard should be reduced to 1 or 2.

[1] TR 39:2015 - Technical Reference – Freight container equipment interchange receipt, Singapore Standards Council, Enterprise Singapore


There are no restrictions to the types of technology deployed, including drones, gantries, laser scanners, computer vision, AI, AR etc. However, the proposed solution should address the following requirements:

  • Efficiently detect, assess and classify the defects, damages or uncleanlinesson containers in accordance to the reporting criteria specified inTR 39, Cargo Worthy or IICL Standards
  • Offer significant time and manpower savings over the existing manual inspection process
  • Be able to inspect defects at heights, and at all exposed surfaces of the containers
  • Be able to provide location information of the defect positionand recommend the required action to rectify the defect
  • Allow the data collected to be easily integrated with existing container depot management systems
  • Be able to identify and recognise container identification numbers printed on the sides of the containers
  • Be able to operate remotely, or autonomously
  • Be able to detect defects from a range of container surfaces and dimensions (20ft, 40ft, ISO tanks, reefers etc.)
  • Be easily deployable with minimal infrastructure costs
  • Achieve a minimum accuracy of 70%

Data and physical containers for the training of AI models will be made available to shortlisted proposals.

Geographical Restrictions

No geographical restrictions on the origin of the technology. However, the proposed solution should be deployable for test and demonstration on-site at a Singapore-based container yard.

Minimum Required Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

Level 7

Development Timeframe

6 months (including prototype and trial).

Trade and Connectivity Challenge2020

The present Innovation Call is part of theTrade and Connectivity Challenge 2020 co-organised by Enterprise Singapore along with IPI Singapore.

Singapore’s position as a strategic trade hub is backed by its strong regional networks and connectivity. In recent years, Singapore has also transformed into a hub for innovation activity.

The Trade and Connectivity Challenge (TCC) leverages Singapore’s vibrant ecosystem of global trade, connectivity and innovation as a call for solutions to drive partnerships in the aviation, maritime, land mobility, logistics, and trade sectors. Now, in its second year, TCC 2020 continues to provide opportunities for startups and SMEs to co-innovate, deploy, and adopt innovative solutions.

Enterprise Singapore, together with IPI, invites you to showcase your innovative solutions in growth areas, such as big data analysis, Internet of Things and sustainability post-COVID19.

Related Keywords

  • Automation, Robotics Control Systems
  • Building Automation Software
  • Remote Control
  • Industrial manufacturing, Material and Transport Technologies
  • Process automation
  • Transport Infrastructure
  • Water Transport
  • Transport and Shipping Technologies
  • Artificial intelligence applications for cars and transport
  • Sensors for cars and transport
  • Remote diagnostics
  • Sensors & Wireless products
  • Detection and Analysis methods
  • Measurements and Standards
  • Measurement Tools
  • Sensor Technology related to measurements
  • Electronic measurement systems
  • Remote sensing technology
  • Industrial Automation
  • Other industrial automation
  • containers
  • automated
  • container depots

About Innoget

The Singapore Management University Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SMU IIE) is a practice-oriented institute that nurtures changemakers and founders who aspire to make the world a better place. To achieve this mission, SMU IIE focuses on its three areas of competencies which include customised training programmes, an equity-free incubation programme, and fostering a cohesive innovation and entrepreneurship community.


Never miss an update from Innoget

Create your free account to connect with Innoget and thousands of other innovative organizations and professionals worldwide

About Innovation Needs

Innovation Needs on Innoget are directly posted and managed by its members as well as evaluation of proposals. Innoget is the trusted open innovation and science network aimed at directly connect industry needs with professionals online.