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February-April 2018

Sweden’s Stena Line sets sail for digital transformation

Ferry operator Stena Line has set an ambitious goal to become the world’s first ferry company powered by cognitive computing by 2021. This is a big step for a 55-year-old company in a traditional industry, but one its head of digital transformation, Jari Virtanen, said is essential. “Many of our managers say we are as efficient as we can be, and yes, we are as efficient as we can be with the tools available today,” he said. “But we absolutely are not as efficient as we can be if we look at the new tools available, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and where we can be [with them] in just two to three years’ time.” In 2016, Stena carried 7.3 million passengers and two million freight units on 21 routes in the Baltic countries, Scandinavia and the UK. But the driver behind its digital push is straightforward: greater competition. Ten years ago, car ferries were the only economical option for taking a holiday abroad, but cheap airlines have changed the market. At the same time, market entrants are introducing new...

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