Cookbooks for the IT system

Yangzi Zhang is one of those people who love challenges: “I like solving problems and trying things out. I love it when I get it right.” She has many opportunities to do just that in the IT department at HHLA. She devises solutions that enable the automated rollout of software solutions.

Yangzi Zhang, Developer at HHLA IT

The goal is simpler installation and update processes for colleagues on site at HHLA’s container terminals – and less trouble for IT. Nowadays, no one has to install all the individual elements of a programme suite themselves, assign the right IP addresses or customise default settings. Everything is now much easier because relevant server management processes have been automated. Yangzi uses open source software for Configuration Management, creating a kind of cookbook with lots of different recipes for different system environments. In fact, she works on several cookbooks at the same time.

The data from the containers delivered by truck are recognised by camera portals using so-called Optical Character Recognition (OCR). They then have to be provided by HHLA IT for the applications on the terminal.

Her main task at the moment is the optimisation of the Gate Operating System, i.e. trucks’ access to the terminal. Truck container data is mostly read in automatically upon entry, but it must also be sent in the correct format to the right place in the overarching Terminal Operating System (TOS). Ideally, this should be standardised so that the process is the same at all of HHLA’s Hamburg terminals.


With a population of almost 8 million, Fuzhou is an important port city on China's southeast coast.

Yangzi came to Germany in 2002 from Fuzhou, a city in southern China. First she spent a year learning German before going on to study computer science in Oldenburg. Why Germany? And why Oldenburg? She answers without hesitation: “My father also studied computer science at the University of Oldenburg, and he lives in Germany.” She then found her first job in Hamburg, at HHLA, and was absolutely right on both counts: “Life in Germany is wonderful and Hamburg is a great city!”

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Published June 2023