Smooth Sailing with OCR: Revolutionizing Invoice Processing in the Maritime Industry
Artificial Intelligence
Vishnu Narayan May 12, 2023

Did you know that the maritime industry relies heavily on paper-based invoicing processes, which involve a lot of time, effort, and paperwork?

But what if we told you that a technology called OCR and machine learning could make invoice processing faster and easier?

That’s right; this powerful combo will transform the maritime sector and boost its efficiency like never before. 

In this article, we will explore how the convergence of these technologies is changing the game in the maritime industry and what the future might hold. 

Let’s dive deep into the world of OCR and Machine Learning in invoice processing for the maritime industry!

What is OCR (Optical Character Recognition)?

The super cool technology OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, enables computers to read words on paper or images.

It’s like magic, but instead of a wizard, it uses algorithms and fancy computer software to turn images of words into actual text that the computer can understand.

So, instead of having to type out all the words yourself, OCR can do it for you in just a few seconds!

Source: Wikipedia

This is really helpful for lots of things, like converting old documents into digital versions or helping computers read handwriting or printed text. 

It’s like having a robot assistant who can read and write for you!

Optical character recognition is a powerful tool in many industries

Many industries, including maritime, rely on optical character recognition as a powerful tool to aid in their operations.

Also, it helps businesses save a lot of time and reduce errors by automating tasks like data entry and document processing.

Optical character recognition for efficient and accurate operations in maritime

Moreover, in maritime, optical character recognition is especially useful for automating invoice processing and cargo tracking, making operations more efficient and accurate. 

Also, as the maritime industry continues to embrace digitalization and automation, optical character recognition will play an even bigger role in driving innovation and growth.

How exactly does it help?

For example, imagine you’re working at a big shipping company. 

Every day,  you have to process thousands of invoices sent from various suppliers around the world!

These invoices have all sorts of different formats, fonts, and layouts. Moreover, it’s a tough job to read through all of them and manually enter the data into your company’s systems. 

What will you do to make it easier and faster?

That’s where optical character recognition comes in by being a great way to make this process faster and easier!

Here are a few interesting findings that we came across

  • According to recent market research, the optical character recognition market had a worth of USD 10.62 billion in 2022, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.8% from 2023 to 2030.
  • Many industries, including BFSI, healthcare, retail, tourism, logistics, transportation, government, and manufacturing, widely adopt OCR technology due to its ability to improve productivity and increase the penetration of automatic recognition systems.
  • North America holds the highest revenue share in the Optical Character Recognition market, primarily due to the region’s major market players and high adoption rate of advanced technologies.

IoT in maritime

How Does the Invoicing OCR Work?

Optical character recognition invoicing is a process that involves the use of specialized software to extract and digitize data from invoices in the maritime industry. Here’s how it works:

Here is how OCR invoicing Work

Step 1 – Scanning and Image Correction:

Invoices are scanned and converted into high-resolution images to ensure the text is clearly visible.

After that, the OCR software then performs image pre-processing tasks such as binarization, skew correction, noise removal, and skeletonization to distinguish the text from the background.

Step 2 – Text Detection:

The software detects the data fields, tables, and graphs present in the invoice.

Step 3 – Text Recognition:

The software recognizes the data and identifies the relevant fields such as product name, product quantity, invoice date, and invoice number.

Step 4 – Data Validation:

To ensure the accuracy of the recognized data, various checks are performed to validate the data.

Step 5 – Data Extraction:

The OCR software extracts invoice data from different areas, such as tables, headers, and footers, and then fills the relevant fields in electronic documents. Then, the information is fed into the desired accounting system.

By using OCR invoicing, the maritime industry can improve the efficiency of its invoice processing, reduce manual labour, and minimize errors.

OCR Invoice Processing & Machine Learning

Combining OCR and machine learning technology improves invoice processing accuracy, reduces manual intervention, and results in cost savings and increased efficiency.

Machine learning models assist in key data recognition and converting it into structured data for easy accounting software reading. 

This enhances OCR outcomes, improving text detection speed, accuracy and readability.

Moreover, OCR and machine learning also improve data extraction accuracy by recognizing patterns from past data, minimizing errors and improving efficiency.

What benefits does OCR bring to the maritime industry?

1. Streamlining document management

  • The maritime industry deals with a massive amount of paperwork, such as bills of lading, shipping manifests, and invoices.
  • OCR technology can help streamline document management by automating data entry, reducing manual errors, and allowing for easy search and retrieval of documents.
  • This leads to increased efficiency, reduced costs, and faster processing times.

2. Enhancing safety & security

  • OCR technology enables the identification of hazards, such as obstacles or other ships, by reading and analyzing images from cameras on ships and ports.
  • We can also use OCR to recognize and flag potential security threats, such as unauthorized personnel or cargo.
  • This helps enhance safety and security in the maritime industry and can prevent accidents and incidents.

3. Optimizing logistics & supply chain management

  • The maritime industry plays a crucial role in global logistics and supply chain management.
  • Also, we can automate the tracking and monitoring of cargo and shipments, from loading to unloading, by utilizing OCR technology.
  • Moreover, this helps optimize logistics and supply chain management, reducing costs and improving delivery times.

4. Enabling predictive maintenance

  • We can use OCR technology to monitor and analyze equipment performance data, such as engine temperature and fuel consumption.
  • Also, we can predict when we might need maintenance by utilizing this data, which helps us prevent breakdowns and costly repairs.
  • Similarly, this helps reduce downtime and maintenance costs and improve vessel reliability.

5. Facilitating regulatory compliance

  • Various international, national, and local laws and regulations must be complied with in the heavily regulated maritime industry.
  • Also, automatically reading and extracting data from regulatory documents, such as certificates and permits, using OCR technology can ensure compliance.
  • Moreover, this helps reduce the risk of non-compliance and costly fines.

What is OCR used for?

Here are some other examples of OCR applications across different industries:

1. Banking & Finance

  • Automating data entry and processing of financial documents such as invoices, receipts, and forms
  • Streamlining loan application and approval processes
  • Enhancing fraud detection and prevention by analyzing and verifying identity documents
Also Read: Optical Character Recognition: A Visionary Technology For Simplified Banking Operations!

2. Healthcare

  • Digitizing patient records and medical documents for easy and efficient access
  • Processing insurance claims and medical bills for faster reimbursement
  • Identifying and tracking medication using barcode and OCR technology

3. Retail

  • Managing inventory by automating data entry and tracking
  • Streamlining the checkout process with OCR-enabled scanning of barcodes and QR codes
  • Enhancing customer service with chatbots that can extract information from receipts and invoices

4. Manufacturing

  • Automating data entry and processing of invoices, receipts, and forms
  • Tracking and managing inventory using OCR-enabled barcode scanning
  • Streamlining supply chain management by processing shipping and logistics documents

5. Education

  • Digitizing student records and transcripts for easy and efficient access
  • Processing and organizing student applications and admissions documents
  • Automating grading and test scoring with OCR-enabled scanning of answer sheets.

People also ask

👉What is OCR in invoice processing?

OCR invoice processing is a technology that extracts data from invoices and automatically enters it into accounting systems.

👉How does OCR help mitigate human error?

OCR technology automates data entry by extracting information, leading to faster document processing and reduced human error, enabling authorities to identify inaccuracies.

👉Does OCR work in all languages?

Yes. The OCR engine detects all languages by default.

👉What are the features of OCR?

OCR typically employs a modular architecture that is open, scalable, and workflow-controlled. This architecture comprises form definition, scanning, image pre-processing, and recognition capabilities.

👉What is the main advantage and disadvantage of an OCR?

The main advantage of an OCR is accurate character scanning, but its limited character recognition capability is a disadvantage.


OCR and machine learning have transformed the invoice processing industry and the maritime sector is no exception. Moreover, by leveraging OCR, businesses can reduce errors, save time and money, and boost efficiency. Also, accurate and streamlined invoicing processes can lead to increased productivity and profitability. 

Above all, as the maritime industry continues to embrace digitalization, OCR will play an even bigger role in driving innovation and growth, giving companies an essential tool to stay ahead of the competition.

Revolutionizing OCR with AI: ThinkPalm’s Success Story – A Case Study

ThinkPalm revolutionized OCR with AI for a growing professional services organization by developing an API that provided full alphanumeric recognition of printed or handwritten characters at electronic speed.

The OCR solution reduced the time, effort, and cost of information extraction projects and offered automated and accurate data access and retrieval, resulting in improved compliance and reduced rework time.

Moreover, ThinkPalm ensured that the information extracted was of high quality and met the client’s business goals through intelligent data quality monitoring and text cleansing capabilities.

Also, to learn more about how we leveraged AI-based OCR to help their client address their business challenge, you may read the full case study. 

Further, if you’re facing a similar challenge and need expert assistance, contact us today, and our team of experts will be happy to help.

Accelerate Your Business Growth with OCR & AI

As OCR technology continues to streamline business processes, AI and AI services are emerging as essential tools for growth.

Similarly, businesses leverage these advancements to optimize their operations, stay competitive, and drive innovation in their respective industries. 

ThinkPalm, an experienced AI service provider, can offer a powerful hand in implementing AI solutions for your business needs. Connect with us today for a free consultation with our AI experts.

AI is the future - Powerful AI Services

Author Bio

Vishnu Narayan is a dedicated content writer and a skilled copywriter working at ThinkPalm Technologies. More than a passionate writer, he is a tech enthusiast and an avid reader who seamlessly blends creativity with technical expertise. A wanderer at heart, he tries to roam the world with a heart that longs to watch more sunsets than Netflix!