Celebrating a Decade of Cooperation with Hapag-Lloyd

May 12, 2021  |  Dzmitry Holub
IBA Group is proud to have long-term clients. One of them is Hapag-Lloyd and this year we are celebrating a decade of our partnership. In this blog, I would like to tell about how it all began, how it evolved, and what this partnership gives me professionally and personally.


Hapag-Lloyd started their negotiations with IBA in 2009 and it took us quite a while to come to a common ground. After an adaptation period, the first project went live in 2011. The project consisted of three parts, namely UI development, report development, and business component development.

Development and Migration

In 2013, we worked on MARS and FIS2 projects, on the mainframe and Java parts, to be more exact. In 2015, I was appointed as an IBA project manager for FIS2. In 2017, the project was completed and its migration to FIS3 launched. Hapag-Lloyd selected us for the migration task because we were well familiar with FIS2, and had the expertise required for migration and good scaling capabilities.


The cooperation model that IBA typically applied for nearshore projects did not work with Hapag-Lloyd. It simply did not work to tell a Java developer something like ‘This is FIS2, study it, and migrate it to a new platform’. Java developers did not want to delve into the system. They wanted to develop on Java.

Proxy Product Owners

This is how Hapag-Lloyd and IBA Group came to the conclusion that we need a group of system analysts and the concept of Proxy Product Owners came into life.  We began using Scrum to manage tasks.

With Scrum, Java developers write Java code based on the specifications that we develop, and Scrum masters provide a clear vision of the product and take care of information exchange between external groups and the project team. We at IBA have our own Scrum team and Hapag-Lloyd has their own. We work in a normal process but the ideal for the future would be Agile.

Personal Ties

Before the COVID19, we had business trips. IBA team members traveled to the customer site and Hapag-Lloyd managers visited us in turns. We made friends and one of IBA employees got married to a Hapag-Lloyd employee. She moved to Germany and recently the couple had their third baby.

First Trip to Customer Site. Splendor and Misery of Hamburg

I remember my first business trip to Hamburg. I stayed at a small hotel near the central railway station. It was a long business trip, as the customer wanted to integrate all applications.  My colleague and I went to a Bavarian restaurant and ordered whole pork knuckles. The dish was delicious but so big that I spent two hours eating it!

The hotel where I stayed was located near the central railway station. To the right from the railway station, there was the luxury part of the city and to the left the area where the marginalized groups lived, like in the Splendor and Misery of Courtesans by Honore de Balzac.   

I went to bed but could not fall asleep, as my window overlooked a basement bar and throughout the night, I heard fights and police cars coming to the place. That was a night to remember J

Two years later, I came to Hamburg and popped into that bar on a weekend. It looked very quiet. The barman turned out to be a Crimean Tatar and we discussed the annexation of the Crimea. It was in 2015.

My Impression of Modern Hamburg

Speaking of Hamburg, the city lives primarily on income from the port and shipping companies. It used to be full of sailors, taverns, and prostitutes. Today, it is all civilized. They have a red-light street, but it is a sight for tourists. What is also special about Hamburg, they have an annual public festival called Port Day. On that day, they organize funfairs, beer festivals, and other attractions, paying tribute to the port that feeds them.

Our Plans for Working with Hapag-Lloyd

We are working to increase our performance and keep developing software packages independently. Our team would like to work not only on migration but also on innovation projects. After the COVID19, we want to resume meetings in person and friendly relations with our colleagues from Hapag-Lloyd. Both IBA Group and Hapag-Lloyd look forward to the next 10 years of cooperation!

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