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Takaisin Sea-Air – readying resilient and sustainable supply chains

A leading technology company was committed to making their smart home products accessible to everyone, with a supply chain that is both efficient and green. Sea-Air provided them with all that – and more.


A multinational technology company


Computer hardware and software


Providing a reliable mode of transport for smart home devices that need to be shipped from Asia to Europe


  • Faster transport of goods 
  • Significant reduction in CO2 emissions
  • Successful team work founded on dedication

When you think of smart homes, you imagine gadgets that let you seamlessly control the different features in your home with minimal supervision. Smart home technology has become a staple for households across the world. Our customer, a pioneer of integrating complex engineering mechanisms with easy-to-use functionality, has been heavily investing in smart home appliances. Their aim is to make these devices accessible to everyone in the world, so people can be more comfortable in their homes. Kuehne+Nagel supported them by ensuring that their products reached the shelves safely and on time.

In December 2019, our customer began using Kuehne+Nagel’s Sea-Air service to further optimise their supply chain for speed, reliability, and sustainability. Robin Knopf, Kuehne+Nagel’s Global Head of Sea-Air, was instrumental in forging this partnership. He says, “When we introduced our service to them, they were excited about its possibilities and scope. It’s been a year since we started working together - our association is built on transparency and ease of communication.”

With Sea-Air, the company wished to make its supply chain more sustainable without disrupting it. But how do they benefit from a multimodal supply chain? Robin explains, “They needed an ‘in-between’ solution that combined features of both air and sea logistics. Thanks to our service they cut their transit times and CO2 emissions by half – making their supply chain greener and more efficient. Today, they rely on us to ship their products from Thailand and Vietnam into Europe every week.”

Any great collaboration is defined not just by its success, but also by how well it’s able to anticipate and overcome potential challenges. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the firm witnessed an increase in demand for their smart devices, especially because people were spending more time at home. However, it was an uncertain time for the global logistics industry – with delays and congestion at ports. Robin elaborates, “We knew that their supply chain could get affected, especially in March and April. To ensure timely delivery, we rerouted the shipments via Singapore, instead of taking the usual route that goes via Dubai.” This rerouting gave them extra time to manage any hold ups in factory production and ports due to lockdowns or other COVID-19 restrictions. In the end, their transit time remained unaffected.

After a year of success, what’s in store next for this partnership? Robin ends on a positive note, “Lately, we’ve seen a remarkable increase in the volume of goods they’ve been shipping with us – a weekly increment of over 150%. They will continue to use our services for their products coming in to Europe next year. They also might begin using our other shipping routes – including the ones to America.” In a year otherwise marked by uncertainty, a combination of positive attitude, co-operation and engagement defined the work we accomplished with our customer. It goes to show resilience and trust can combat even the most troubling of times.