Bishopsgate’s origins began with the incorporation of Nigerian Tank Car Rentals Ltd RC.3979 on 11th September 1964 by Clifford Mays. He originally came to Nigeria in 1948 with the British construction company, Taylor Woodrow, who at the time were building the Apapa port in Lagos and he later set up the Technical Department for UTC Nigeria and became its first General Manager.
NTCR began its operations in 1964 with six railway tank wagons transporting bulk liquids on the Nigerian railway network. The fleet grew rapidly to become the largest privately owned tank wagon operator in Africa, carrying a range of refined products primarily for the oil marketing companies. Products carried included petroleum, kerosene, gas and lube oils, LPFO, HPFO and bitumen to and from the ports, refineries and the major distribution points around the country. NTCR also transported bulk groundnut, palm and other vegetable oils.
Railway, Mine & Plantation Equipment (Nig) Ltd was established later in the 1960s as an adjunct to the tank wagon operation and specialised in the supply of heavy engineering and technical equipment to customers such as the Federal Ministry of Transport, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Inland Waterways Division, Nigerian Ports Authority, Federal Ministry of Mines & Power, Nigerian Coal Corporation, Electricity Corp of Nigeria (ECN), Federal Ministry of Communications, Nigerian External Telecommunications (NET), Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Nigerian Sugar Company as well as other parastatal and commercial organisations.
The Group’s business activities in the north of Nigeria were overseen by its Board Director, Mr Hans Willi, who had come to Nigeria in the 1950s with UTC and later became its CEO in Nigeria. In the 1970s the group partnered with the State Government in establishing, constructing and managing the Kano State Oil & Allied Products Ltd (KASOAP) plant located in Bompai, Kano. The group was also able to utilise its tank wagons to transport KASOAP’s production of groundnut & cotton seed oils to the sea ports for export.
The Group’s UK office was established in 1974 in Bishopsgate House, Egham run by Mr Colin Chapman, formerly of RMPE London. Soon afterwards, a trading arm in Nigeria was established, Fabu & Co, under the auspices of the Group’s General Manager and Board Director, Mr Francis Ukiri. The Company subsequently changed its name to Bishopsgate Int (Nig) Ltd, the better to reflect its connection and credentials with the Group. The company eventually took over the activities of both NTCR and RMP in Nigeria and in 1978 was appointed as the sole agent in Nigeria for Chubb & Sons Lock & Safe Company Ltd of Wolverhampton, England, that began its long and close relationship with the Chubb group and which continues to this day.
Worldwide Petroleum Services (WA) Ltd was established in 1980, with Mr Bob Dodd as its CEO, to manage the Group’s growing business in the oilfield services sector. WPS was quartered in the Group’s Head Office in Lagos, whilst its primary operational activities were conducted from its base in Port Harcourt and sub-office in Warri.
From its background in heavy engineering, Bishopsgate’s business has evolved towards providing specialist security equipment and services. With the continual advances in technology and communications, the Nigerian market increasingly requires the latest electronic security products that Bishopsgate is able to supply and service in association with its long-standing partnerships with the world’s leading OEMs such as Chubbsafes and Gunnebo Security.
For more information on these activities, please visit our Project, Gallery and Products pages.