Bishop Brothers mark 50 years in Papua New Guinea
For 50 years, Bishop Brothers have been an integral part of the ongoing development of Papua New Guinea through the supply and service of products to a multitude of projects in agriculture, mining, forestry, manufacturing, marine, industrial, and, over the last decade, the evolving oil and gas industry.
Bishops in many ways have grown and developed with the nation — from humble beginnings in 1972 with two brothers working enthusiastically to get established with a handful of staff to numerous outlets and over 300 staff.
In 1972 Mark and Wayne Bishop came to Papua New Guinea to work with their older brother Ross. The original business in Port Moresby focused on general engineering and mechanical and marine maintenance. As the business developed, the Bishops took advantage of the opportunities PNG presented in this area, and invested in more and varied machinery, leading to the young men working 14- to 20-hour days, 7 days a week to build their business service and brand.
The business continued to grow, and by 1977 the brothers had purchased their property, which remains the current site of the Port Moresby sales branch, Equipment Hire, and head office.
As PNG developed and flourished after independence, so did the Bishops. The Bishops played an integral part in projects across the country. Bougainville Copper realized the first labor hire of tradesmen, and later a sales outlet at Kieta, followed by a workshop and sales office in Lae in 1985 to manage the maintenance requirements coming off the island, and to service the new projects coming online in the Misima and Porgera gold mines, and the oil fields of Gobe.
The brothers established a joint venture (JV) in Tabubil in 1983 when the Ok Tedi mine commenced operations. The venture consisted of a sales office, hardware store, and machining, engineering, and fabrication workshops.
The JV was responsible for the fabrication and construction of many of the original houses in Tabubil.
In 1984, a sales branch was established in Mt. Hagen to service the tea, coffee, general agriculture, and extended mining and exploration activities in the Highlands. With the success of the Mt. Hagen branch in the agricultural area, a branch was opened in Kimbe in 1987 to provide sales and service to the developing oil palm industry in the province.
In 1990, a branch was opened in Rabaul, again to support the cocoa, copra, and balsa industries. The volcanic eruptions in 1994 witnessed the decimation of the Rabaul township and the Bishops outlet.
After some years, Bishops returned to the province, setting up an outlet in the now thriving Kokopo town.
1991 saw a second JV established, this time in the Porgera township. This outlet serviced the Porgera gold mine with a concentration on hydraulic services. This association led to major contracts for the supply of consumables to be supplied from Lae.
In 1999, Bishops set up a sales outlet in Madang, as the promise of mining developments was a catalyst for this operation. The final branch expansion came in 2006 when Bishops entered the Solomon Islands with an outlet in Honiara. Unfortunately, this branch was closed in 2022 due to ongoing internal tensions, which lead to numerous security incursions on all business houses there.
After a birth based around engineering and machining services, the thriving Bishops business today is the leading supplier of engineering, industrial, and safety products to PNG.
General Manager Len Pianta, who has been with the company for over 25 years of the journey, has continued to drive the business with a strategy based on customer service, competitive pricing, quality products, stock in the country, experienced staff, up-to-date technologies, and a substantial network of suppliers from around the globe.
Presently, Bishops operates six sales branches; Port Moresby, Lae, Mt. Hagen, Kimbe, Madang, Kokopo, and an Equipment Hire/ Crane Hire division. Industrial sales remain the spine of the business.
Bishops stocks an extensive range of products and superior brands in PNG covering all industries. These product ranges include safety clothing and footwear, safety equipment, materials handling, workshop, machinery, and con-struction equipment, power and pneumatic tools, lubricants, sealants and chemicals, janitorial, general industrial products, hand and cutting tools, welding and abrasives, hydraulics, valves and hoses, fasteners, bearings, and oil seals, power generation, and timber processing equipment.
The brands include Bosch, Stihl, Cigweld, Flexovit, Insectshield, Spanset, Warrior, Milwaukee, Puma, Enerpac, Alfagomma, Macnaught, Steel Blue, Howler, CRC, Penrite, Loctite, and Wacker.
Bishops have developed an import program and introduced many currently well-known brands to the PNG market — King Tony hand tools, Bulldog boots, Hardman clothing, PPE Select and Wirra safety products, and Genpower generators. The business continues to develop this direct import program to offer PNG a range of quality products at competitive prices.
Since its inception, Bishops has always re-invested profits back into PNG, through the land, buildings, redevelopments, stocks, and of course our people across the country. Bishops presently employ 300 staff across PNG and carry 50 million kina worth of products. Major redevelopments of Port Moresby, Lae, Mt. Hagen, and Kimbe now reflect modern facilities with exponential storage capacities to service the major customers across the country.
Bishops are proud to be associated with and service old and new, large and small clients alike: Exxon Mobile PNG, OTML, NBPOL, Simberi Gold, Kainantu Holdings, Porgera JV, Wood Group, Ramu Agri, Innovative Agro, Hides Gas, Curtain Bros, Associated Mills, Paradise Foods, Ela Motors, Monier, Anitua, Morobe Goldfields, PNG Motors, PNG Forest products, Total Energies, and Guarddog, to name a few.
The future looks bright for Bishops and PNG with several major projects earmarked to continue to develop and enhance the nation. Bishops will continue to grow and develop through the continued custom and support of our communities.
Bishops will continue to support and grow our people, as we appreciate that they play an integral part in continued business success.