Kent bets on future with expansion and new regional hubs

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Kent Darwin

The storage and transport industry was drastically altered over the past year, with changes to the way people live and work posing new challenges.

Kent Removals and Storage has announced its increased focus on storage solutions and a major investment program, which includes the development of multimillion-dollar facilities in Townsville, Darwin (imagined above) and other regional hubs.

Increasing demand for new storage solutions has led to the combined investment value of $9 million in these targeted real estate investments, which form part of Kent’s national expansion program.

Commenting on 2020 and its difficulties for commercial businesses, Kent GM of marketing Austin Chesterfield says: “We mainly found that businesses were using our services for relocation purposes rather than storage needs; however, it is still early days in terms of companies assessing what their permanent future office space or environment may look like, especially as more people return to the office in the coming 12 months.”

As for international activity, COVID-19 unsurprisingly had a huge impact, “with reduced sailings leading to a log jam and pressure on freight,” says Chesterfield.

“Communication with shipping lines also created its own challenges around timely delivery to our customers, but we were able to access our extensive network of storage sites around Australia to ease the pressure.

“Many of our big corporates put their mobility programs on hold. The movement during the pandemic was people coming home, rather than moving for work. Corporates supported that, but new assignments slowed and are only beginning to come back now. We can see the rebound starting to appear and confidence is building as the EU/US summer approaches, and corporates are starting to ramp up relocation activity now.”

As part of the expansion and innovation, Kent has developed a new approach to containerised storage. In a typical storage scenario, explains CEO Stephen Alves, people’s belongings are packed and unpacked up to four times, creating concerns among customers about how well their possessions will survive constant rearranging. Kent has introduced a service where a container is packed once by staff before being transferred to its facility.

“It gets packed once and unpacked once, when the customer is ready. That means less time, less energy wasted and less potential for damage to goods stored,” Alves says. “And because the stored items are in a container, if they need to be transported, they can just go, as is.”

With internal data pointing to continued growth for containerised and other storage solutions, Kent has increased storage capacity across its owned sites in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Darwin and Townsville by about 50,000 cubic metres.

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