Guided by data, Stena Line plots a confident course into the future

Ferry operator creates fast, transparent, and accurate financial and pricing plans that incorporate data from throughout its vast operations

Stena Line, a ferry operator serving dozens of ports in northern Europe, has multiple revenue sources and complex cost structures. The company reimagined and connected its multidimensional financial processes in Anaplan, creating a system that accelerates routine activities and improves transparency. Setting prices — formerly a three-month chore performed annually — is now done continuously, and the financial impact of sustainability and infrastructure projects can be quickly analyzed. Stena Line’s uniform, connected, and driver-based planning environment improves agility as conditions change.

We have monthly reporting of our actual figures, and weekly forecasts that provide an overview of what’s to come. The speed of the process and the weekly cadence weren’t possible before Anaplan.
Marica Derenstrand, CFO, Stena Line


updates enable pricing that is advantageous for Stena Line and fair for customers


investments can be quickly analyzed for revenue and sustainability effects


data integration brings in data from ERP and other systems for analysis

Stena Line, a ferry operator serving Northern Europe, transported 6.5 million passengers, 1.8 million cars, and 2.1 million freight units between 26 ports in 2023. The company gets revenue from multiple sources — freight, vehicles, individual travelers, and onboard services — and its port costs vary from city to city.

On top of this complexity, borders closed in 2020 due to COVID-19. The resulting drop in revenue prompted Stena Line to rethink its strategy, planning processes, and the technology that supports them.

Improving pricing was one immediate need: Everything from individual travelers’ fares to commercial truck-hauling rates was calculated in a 50-tab spreadsheet that factored in specific costs for each port. Updating the spreadsheet took up to three months. “The process was almost impossible to execute more than once a year,” recalls Micael Jarméus, Stena Line’s Business Controller for Port Operations. “This created an ongoing lack of insights to support management decisions.”

Easy updates, proactive decisions

Stena Line addressed its challenges with a new solution built on the Anaplan platform. Assisted by Bedford Consulting, development started with Revenue Planning and OpEx Planning. Weekly Financial Planning and Strategic Financial Planning were soon added to support forecasting, budgeting, and reporting. They then built a Strategic Financial Planning model, which forecasts on a five- to 10-year horizon, incorporated advanced scenario modeling that could, for example, predict the cost and financial return on new ferry routes.

Next, Stena Line built and implemented a product pricing analysis model. Created in just three weeks, the pricing model draws cost information and transaction data from the company’s JD Edwards enterprise resource planning (ERP) system every two hours via an automated process. (The same data is also used in other Anaplan models.) New assumptions and organizational changes that affect multiple models — such as updated port costs — are entered once using a responsive user interface.

“I am pleased with the cooperation and the models that Bedford Consulting helped us design and build,” Jarméus says. “The Anaplan solution helps us make proactive decisions and respond to market changes quickly.”

“We are proud to have partnered with Stena Line to transform its financial planning and analysis with Anaplan, notes David Hagetoft, Commercial Director, Nordics at Bedford Consulting. “By connecting multidimensional data and processes, we helped them create a dynamic, transparent system that enables faster, more accurate decision-making. Stena Line can now optimize pricing, evaluate sustainability and infrastructure initiatives, and adapt to changing market conditions with confidence and agility.”

Seeing the big picture

Today, Stena Line’s Anaplan environment serves as a bridge between operational and strategic decision-making. “We have monthly reporting of our actual figures, and weekly forecasts that provide an overview of what’s to come,” notes Marica Derenstrand, Stena Line’s CFO. “The speed of the process and the weekly cadence weren’t possible before Anaplan.”

“Anaplan is a good analysis tool for future investments,” Jarméus adds. “If we want to make a large CapEx investment — for example, renovating a terminal area — we can connect historical and real-time data and immediately see the impact on costs and volumes.” Because Stena Line has ambitious green goals, it uses scenario planning in Anaplan to predict how investments will affect revenues and sustainability. Forecasts and scenarios in Anaplan can reflect fluctuating energy prices, exchange rates, vessel maintenance costs, emissions, and more by changing parameters and following data flows.

Product pricing calculations — formerly done annually — are now continuously available. Pricing teams can respond immediately to changes in the business environment, with full visibility into the numbers that drive their decisions. “With Anaplan, everything is bound together in the model,” Jarméus explains. “We can drill down to different unit types, compare volumes, and have an overview of each port’s unit cost. It enables the company to see the big picture.”

“With Anaplan, our planning process has become more uniform,” concludes David Tåhlin, a financial controller at Stena Line. “Everything is connected, and it’s more driver-based. That’s a big win.”