Stena Line, one of the world’s largest ferry operators
One of the world’s leading ferry operators: Stena Line operates 40 ships across more than 20 routes in Europe. The group is also expanding its presence in Asia and other areas. To operate efficiently while providing best in class customer care a strong communication network is mission critical for the company.
“Global Cloud Xchange has impressed us over the entirety of our relationship with their versatility in network design and we felt confident the high levels of service assurance they provide would answer all the legal requirements. The final solution surpassed our expectations on both fronts and we have enjoyed considerable cost savings over the more staff intensive alternatives!”
Göran Nystedt, CIO, Stena Line
How Does Stena Line Benefit?
- Passengers and freight are not left stranded with ferries unable to sail thanks to a customized “high availability” network designed to minimize potentially catastrophic outages
- Network-based centralized CCTV monitoring is made possible by a highly reliable platform meaning Stena Line can meet stringent mandatory security legislation
- The platform has inbuilt flexibility meaning Stena Line are free to enter new route markets knowing network connectivity will not be a barrier
GCX Product & Services
- Managed Global VPN
- Fully-integrated GCX & 3rd party MPLS
- Hybrid Internet WAN for reliable back-up services
- End-to-end Managed Service & SLAs
Stena is one of the largest ferry companies in the world with a fleet of 35 vessels operating over a network of 20 routes in Scandinavia, the Baltics, the North Sea and the Irish Sea. Each year the company transports more than 7 million passengers, 1.6 million cars and 2 million freight units. In addition, Stena Line also owns and operates five ports and 2 of the largest ferry ships in the world with some vessels capable of transporting 230 cars and more than 1,200 passengers each.
Connecting Europe for a Sustainable Future
Stena Line’s Challenges
Transporting business-people, holiday makers and road freight (including time-sensitive refrigerated goods like food and cut flowers as well as livestock) to their destinations safely and on time is key to Stena Line’s success.
Stena’s IT services team is tasked with a number of objectives ranging from maximizing operational efficiency to optimizing flexibility and ultimately, providing a stable service.
To put this into context, Stena Line have real-time reservation and check-in systems for both freight and passengers which are running 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. And if for any reason Stena Line is not able to operate a ferry according to its very tight schedule or timetable, the ripple effect on passengers, freight, and commerce can be massive.
Sailing delays can be very costly. In the event that network connectivity at a port from which Stena operates is lost, or if the ship-to-shore communications do not work, ferry boarding operations have to stop and ships cannot sail. This in turn can have severe consequences with Port Authorities, Customs and the Police attend in numbers to manage everything from security and customs to traffic and logistics as car parks, quaysides and even motorways jam up with waiting vehicles.
But that’s not all. Port security compliance legislation now means Stena Line themselves can be held more directly responsible for security breaches at several of their European locations. And with Stena Line operating routes from mainland Europe into the UK and Scandinavia, compliance is particularly stringent.
The network which supports Stena’s operations is simply business-critical.
A Communications Platform to Keep Europe Sailing
Global Cloud Xchange (“GCX”) provides Stena Line with a hyper-critical managed network connecting 40 or so ports and ferry terminals in 8 countries, and Stena Line depends upon its network to ensure vessels in port can be loaded, sailed and unloaded according to finely-balanced schedules; all within very strict security and customs regimes.
Thanks to the GCX network, Stena Line also streams real-time CCTV security camera footage from all locations to a central monitoring facility in order to meet its security compliance requirements. What’s more, the GCX network also supports critical “ship-to-shore” communication required to synch data prior to a ferry departing or arriving at a port.
The network follows GCX’s traditional Hybrid WAN approach and is designed to provide high levels of site availability using a combination of MPLS and Internet connectivity from a variety of underlying infrastructure providers, delivered, managed and assured end-to-end by GCX. Connectivity to the Stena Line sites on the network is primarily through high bandwidth dual MPLS circuits using separate providers’ networks, or through MPLS backed up by Internet with IPSec gateways onto GCX’s core MPLS network in London and Frankfurt.
Full network management, fault identification and network-usage portals also provide transparency and service assurance to a single management team, regardless of the underlying technologies or carriers, providing Stena Line with the ability to prioritise application usage and
“GCX has impressed us over the entirety of our relationship with their versatility in network design...The final solution surpassed our expectations."
GÖRAN NYSTEDT, CIO, STENA LINE
Benefits to Stena
- Thanks to GCX’s meticulous attention to detail in designing a network for “high availability” and business continuity, ferry-affecting outages have been minimal
- Estimated savings of more than €25m on combined network management and security process costs
- Full compliance with all local security legislation in all markets
- Improved visibility on network capacity usage, from a single, centralised point of management
- A “best-of-both-worlds” approach to network infrastructure selection that has reduced the burden of management of multiple network providers on Stena Line internal IT resources
- Access to both the lowest infrastructure prices available in any local national market and new technologies as they become available
- Flexible network design offering variable levels of resilience, reliability and service support dependent upon individual site requirements in any country in the world.
Features of GCX Solution
GCX provides Stena Line with a highly reliable communications platform that minimizes outages and maximises Stena Lines’ customer experience:
- Connects approximately 40 ports, ferry terminals and Stena Line locations across Northern & Western Europe to an integrated high-performance backbone network
- Uses connectivity from a range of best-of-breed local and regional carriers to meeting numerous, often site-specific requirements
- Underlying network infrastructure selected according to individual site needs
- Managed Global VPN
- Hybrid Internet WAN with IPSec
The solution is backed by an expert managed service
- Single point of contact for all network and security related services regardless of the underlying carrier at each location
- End-to-end SLA covering all services
- Fully consolidated billing across the network irrespective of the number of underlying carriers
- Network performance transparency provided through O-zone, GCX’s real-time online service delivery performance and reporting portal
- Active ongoing procurement process to continually identify most appropriate technologies and drive down cost