Bundaberg family business Just Freight has increased its storage, loading and delivery capabilities to keep up with the region’s growing demands.
Owners Aaron and Holly Kemps said the business’s move two weeks ago to its new $4.2m premises at 37 Triggs Crescent, Thabeban, a stone’s throw from its previous location, had given Just Freight the space and facilities it needed to serve the Bundaberg Region community into the future.
Aaron, a former professional cyclist who represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, said the business was already thriving in its new surrounds, including a much larger freight depot area.
“We’ve got 3500sq m under foot, which is about double what we previously had, and a new custom-built conveyor belt which has really sped up the loading process for us,” Aaron said.
“We receive more than 300 parcels per day, and it used to be very time consuming and labour intensive at the previous site where we would park the truck inside and all the freight was laid out on the ground, and we’d have a stacker handing items up to the driver to load into the truck.
“Now, with the conveyer belt, we can load 3000 parcels in an hour and a half – we just pull up the orders, scan them and load them, it’s a much speedier and more efficient process.”
Just Freight expands storage service
The new depot also enables Just Freight to warehouse items for other companies, something that Holly said she and Aaron had wanted to do as part of the expansion.
“We want to be able to help other family-run businesses with their storage needs,” she said.
“It also allows us to hold more state and national freight.
“We want to help other family-run and local businesses of all sizes as much as we can and for the construction of the new shed, we used local suppliers and contractors wherever we could.”
The new facility boasts a larger undercover area, giving Just Freight more room to store large items outside while also keeping them protected from the elements.
It also enables delivery trucks to be offloaded under cover, something that was not possible at the previous depot.
Just Freight delivers locally as well as nationally and internationally through strategic partnerships with other carriers.
Aaron and Holly agreed that the $4.2m investment was not only a show of faith in the future of Just Freight, but also that of the Bundaberg Region itself, believing that the local economy was thriving.
Aaron said the business had grown increasingly busy shortly after the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in Queensland last year and had not let up since.
“With everyone buying so many items online, our volumes of freight keep soaring,” he said.
“It was quiet for the first two weeks after the restrictions were introduced, while people were still unsure what was happening, but then it ramped up and was at Christmas (period) volumes by April and has stayed that way ever since.”
Holly said the freight business was an indicator for the health of the local economy – and that all signs are pointing to a booming Bundaberg Region.
“You can predict Bundaberg’s growth before it happens just by the amount of freight coming through,” Holly said.
“Just Freight has been in business in Bundaberg for more than 25 years and there is a definite pattern that you see happening, with the amounts of freight coming through increasing before the town grows.”
Aaron, who captured three state titles as a junior cyclist, left Bundaberg to pursue his pro cycling career firstly at the Australian Institute of Sport and then at its European base in Italy.
After securing three stage victories in World Cup under-23 competitions in 2003 and 2004, he embarked on a professional career that resulted in him competing in some of the world’s most prestigious cycling road races including the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Flanders.
The pair said they had travelled the world during Aaron’s cycling career but could not think of anywhere better to live with their four children and Holly, a former Shalom College student, believed more people were coming to that realisation.
“We’re only four hours out of Brisbane and people are moving out of the cities to areas like Bundaberg which has everything,” she said.
Aaron, who went to Sharon State School and Bundaberg North High, agreed.
“Nearly every day we’re delivering tiles for new houses,” he said.
“There’s the beach, river, good schools and sports facilities – Bundaberg’s a great place to live and bring up kids.”
Aaron said the rapidity with which Just Freight's previous shed, still owned by the business, had been rented by another Bundaberg company indicated other commercial operators shared his optimism.
Aaron and Holly bought the business from Aaron’s parents Bernie and Maree two years ago when Bernie wished to retire, although he is still a regular presence at Just Freight where Aaron’s brother Tyson is also an employee.
In keeping with Aaron and Holly’s love of the Bundaberg Region community, Just Freight sponsors local cycling, football and dance clubs and academies.
Just Freight Bundaberg has also supported several community initiatives including providing free transport of new trees to regrow bushland devastated by bushfire and delivery of hand sanitiser to local schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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