Enhancing Global Maritime Traffic Network Forecasting with Gravity-Inspired Deep Learning Models

Jan 1, 2024·
Ruixin Song
Gabriel Spadon
Ronald Pelot
S. Matwin
Amílcar Soares
Aquatic non-indigenous species (NIS) pose significant threats to biodiversity, disrupting ecosystems and inflicting substantial economic damages across agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Due to the fast growth of global trade and transportation networks, NIS has been introduced and spread unintentionally in new environments. This study develops a new physics-informed model to forecast maritime shipping traffic between port regions worldwide. The predicted information provided by these models, in turn, is used as input for risk assessment of NIS spread through transportation networks to evaluate the capability of our solution. Inspired by the gravity model for international trades, our model considers various factors that influence the likelihood and impact of vessel activities, such as shipping flux density, distance between ports, trade flow, and centrality measures of transportation hubs. Accordingly, this paper introduces transformers to gravity models to rebuild the short- and long-term dependencies that make the risk analysis feasible. Thus, we introduce a physics-inspired framework that achieves an 89% binary accuracy for existing and non-existing trajectories and an 84.8% accuracy for the number of vessels flowing between key port areas, representing more than 10% improvement over the traditional deep-gravity model. Along these lines, this research contributes to a better understanding of NIS risk assessment. It allows policymakers, conservationists, and stakeholders to prioritize management actions by identifying high-risk invasion pathways. Besides, our model is versatile and can include new data sources, making it suitable for assessing international vessel traffic flow in a changing global landscape.
Scientific Reports