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Rottnest Island a favourite destination and a logistical challenge | Local Matters

Rottnest is a unique destination for visitors, businesses operating on the island and for logistical teams ensuring everything runs smoothly for both.

Forty years ago, Kleenheat started providing gas to Rottnest Island. The provision of gas allows the 40 businesses on Rottnest to run smoothly so that the annual 400,000 visitors to the Island, can enjoy reliable gas flow, without even thinking about it.

Energy on Rottnest Island

Rottnest island runs on a combination of energy forms, the base load being from a diesel power station, which is supplemented with gas, and renewables including a solar array and a wind farm.

Ron Hoddy, Kleenheat’s Major Account Representative, has been working with Kleenheat for almost 40 years and has been involved with Kleenheat’s LPG (liquified petroleum gas) delivery to Rottnest since he came on board.Rottnest Local Matters with Kleenheat Derek next to the K&S gas tanker on Rottnest Island

“Rottnest has to produce all of its own energy and as a result they’ve used LPG for a long time.”, Hoddy said.

Derek Gross, from the Kleenheat Operations Team, assists in the delivery process.

“There are no natural gas pipelines on Rottnest, so the Kleenheat gas is delivered by truck transport via the barge that runs to and from Rottnest every week.”, Gross said.

As the only provider of LPG to Rottnest island, Kleenheat works with K&S Energy to cart LPG safely between Kwinana to Fremantle, and then via barge to Rottnest, where the tanker moves around the island refilling LPG tanks and depots.

In busy times, Kleenheat will deliver around 6.5tonnes of LPG to Rottnest twice weekly. The refill process is quick, but in busier times can take up to 4.5hours to move around the island in total.

This gas is used in kitchens, ablution blocks, and in the various accommodation options for heating in winter and for hot waters systems year round.

The logistics of running Rottnest Island

During the busier summer months, restocking can be particularly vital in order to keep the Island running smoothly.

Pelagic Marine Services, operate the barge that transits to and from Rottnest sometimes up to three times daily, or between five and six hundred services a year.Rottnest Local Matters with Kleenheat - barge skipper on barge over to Rottnest Island

A typical day starts between four and five am, and wraps when the barge returns to Rous Head, in Fremantle between one and three pm.

Brett Fraser, the barge skipper with Pelagic Marine Services, managers the barge operations.

“…If we can’t operate, it does disrupt things quite significantly, and in the following days we have to do a little bit of catching up so we may have to put on extra services the following two or three days just to be able to catch up.”, Fraser said.

The 12 nautical miles between Rous Head and Rottnest takes the barge about 1.5hours to cross in calm weather and up to three hours in rough conditions.

Running a business on Rottnest Island

Glenn Evans who operates Simmo’s Rottnest and The Lane Café requires reliable refrigeration, and constant gas flow for their kitchen appliances.

“In the week covering Christmas (2021) and New Years’ Eve we moved 9,000 ice-cream scoops, which is 1,285 per day. We do this in 6 hours, so it’s over 200 per hour. In coffee we were doing up to 1,000 per day through out the same period.” , Evans said.

Businesses on the Island support the seasonal masses but require a reliable delivery of goods, equipment, supplies and utilities, including gas, to be delivered to the island on a daily basis.

“…We rely heavily on Island infrastructure, in particular the barge service that bring our stores to the Island every day. Without it we couldn’t do business over here. We bring our gas, our food stores, our ice-cream, – everything comes on that barge; we’re 100% reliant on it.”, Evans said.

Interested in Local Matters?

Local Matters demonstrates Kleenheat’s’ presence across both WA and the NT from the perspective of our Kleenheat staff, contractors, business customers, dealers and agents.

The real life meet and greets, depict who our people are and how we service the local community through the provision of gas, typically in the form of LPG cylinders, bulk deliveries and Kwik-Gas.