Through Westpac’s new Energy Efficiency Finance Program, growing freight logistics and storage business, Hunter Express, will reduce energy bills while doing the right thing for the environment.
Just over 26 years ago, Mark Hunter and his father John bought themselves a van and decided to have a go at setting up a couriering business.
Since then, their family owned and run business, Hunter Express, has grown to become a national logistics and storage enterprise, with around 400 staff and a fleet of 200 vehicles delivering more than 150,000 packages a month.
The Hunters have ambitious goals to maintain their growth trajectory, including plans to double the number of major depots around the country, putting them on course to achieve an annual turnover of $250 million within the decade.
When asked what lies behind the success, Mark has no hesitation.
“First and foremost, we are a people business,” he said. “Our employees are our absolute priority. In fact, the first person we hired more than two decades ago is still with us to this day.
“We also pride ourselves on forming strong, personal relationships with our customers. Logistics is a competitive business. We know we have to stay relevant and responsive to customers’ needs, always adapting in ways to help us become a better company for our customers.”
To achieve this, Mark’s philosophy is to make sure Hunter Express stays ‘fit’ across many levels – financially, operationally, socially and environmentally.
That’s why when Mark’s Westpac relationship manager, Matt Sainsbury, brought an idea to him that would help to significantly cut the business’ energy costs and environmental footprint, it was a ‘no-brainer’ to Mark.
The idea involved Westpac’s newly created Energy Efficiency Finance Program.
Through the program, Mark had access to energy efficiency experts from independent energy consultancy Verdia who helped identify and arrange installation of the right equipment in his warehouses to improve efficiency. This included solar panels and more efficient lighting. Hunter Express also benefits from a discounted interest rate on the finance to purchase the equipment, supported by an arrangement between Westpac and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
“When we saw the finance proposal, the numbers really stacked up. There was no downside for us,” Mark said.
“The combination of experience from Westpac and Verdia gave us confidence we would get the right outcomes. We plan to reinvest the longer term energy cost savings into the growth of the business, while knowing we’re also doing the right thing for the environment.”
The new equipment adds to Hunter Express’ initiatives to improve its environmental performance, including the installation of machinery to shred and compact waste – such as plastic sheeting, timber pallets and tin packaging – to sell back into the industry for reuse.
Despite having an eye on environmental efficiency, Mark said the installation of the new equipment wouldn’t have happened were it not for the partnership between Hunter Express and Westpac.
“Our relationship manager at Westpac, Matt, really knows our business, our vision and what we want to achieve,” he said. “When he brought this proposal to us, we knew it was the right thing to do. It gave us certainty and made it really easy for us to say ‘yes’. It would have been way harder for us to get it done on our own.”
Hunter Express’ relationship with Westpac began when Mark’s father and Hunter Express co-founder, John Hunter, opened his first account with the bank 70 years ago. Mark views the current project as not only a strengthening of their relationship with Westpac but also a true partnership where like-minded enterprises achieve a greater vision.