World class software development for container terminals worldwide

New DevOps platform with a standardised and proven workflow delivers enormous time savings.

Fast-growing consultancy and software enterprise TBA Group designs software to optimise logistic processes at ports, container terminals, airports, plants and more.

Container terminals around the world use TBA's software to automate their fleet management. Such terminals are a 24/7 flurry of activity aimed at loading and unloading shipping containers as efficiently as possible. Colossal cranes are controlled remotely by workers in an onsite office. Trucks are driving everywhere; there are traditional lorries, but also plenty of self-driving models without cabs.

TBA Group supplies the software that controls all these vehicles, to get every container right where it needs to be. TBA's development teams work every day to optimise this software for customers, add new features and develop new integrations. To monitor, test and roll out code faster and more effectively, it was decided to implement a new DevOps platform.

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An optimised development pipelines and workflows on Gitlab

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What was delivered

An optimised development pipelines and workflows on Gitlab

We delivered change within TBA

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Technology we used

The type of team used

How we delivered

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We did a complete modernization of development pipelines and workflows. As a result, TBA got a boost in consistency and quality of releases.


New DevOps platform for developers to monitor, test and deploy code

After a positive pilot with GitLab on-premise we started the implementation of a new DevOps platform. The first feedback from the development teams is positive: test processes are much smoother. All insights are used to optimise the entire test process. The teams have special praise for the overview offered by GitLab – with insights into the various components of a code – and the speed at which these insights can be retrieved.

Next step: implementing a tailored pipeline for Java and C++. Another item on the to-do list is the implementation of a DevOps job that would entail testing finished products and jobs. This should make it possible for developers to directly deploy software for a specific customer. The goal is to gradually phase out the entire self-built test street.

Developer tools according to industry standards

Every process at a container terminal is designed to quickly transfer containers to trucks, trains and freight barges, in order to get the products to the customer with maximum efficiency. But logistics at a terminal can be unpredictable. Should a crane break down, tasks must be divided over other cranes.Additionally, with all these vehicles moving around, container terminals can get overcrowded. Parts of a terminal may also temporarily be inaccessible while mechanics perform maintenance.

This all goes to show that container terminal software must be extremely stable and have a high uptime, for it to be available 24/7, 365 days a year. It will come as no surprise then, that TBA's developers work continuously on bespoke software solutions to make this happen. Over the last 20 years, they have developed a comprehensive and innovative software suite. However, they still ran into limitations. The developers used to work with self-built test frameworks with automated tests and average test runs of 6-7 hours. This meant they could not develop continuously. Instead, they often had to wait for a sprint to finish before they could test their code, causing peak periods on the DevOps platform.

TBA Group realised it needed faster feedback on the quality of the code, more test opportunities and less overall frustration. This triggered the company to scout for high-quality, proven tools that could be integrated into a new DevOps workflow, enabling continuous delivery. This option had another advantage: any new developers joining TBA would already be familiar with these tools, thereby reducing their onboarding time.

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We make software that can do something really special, but at the same time we are a normal software company. I would therefore like to set a standard for software development that is used by all large companies in the world. That will help attract new employees and make automated tests much faster.

Heiko Harders

System architect


Boost for the development teams

Time saved in the development process: from automatic tests that take a working day to test results within 10 minutes

Optimized testing process: faster feedback on code quality and more stable test results

DevOps Best practices: developers can focus on core business and own expertise and iterative innovation: meet customer needs faster

Modular build: only test components where code has changed

Boost for the development teams

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