Unit History: Bibby Line
The Bibby Line is a British company concerned with shipping and marine operations.
Its parent company, Bibby Line Group Limited, can be traced back to the shipbroking partnership of Bibby & Hall, which was founded in 1801. It is and always has been based in Liverpool. The Bibby Line was founded in 1807 by the first John Bibby (1775-1840).
It has operated in most areas of shipping throughout its 200 year history, and claims to be the oldest independently owned deep sea shipping line in the world. Along with other British ship owners, it endured hard economic conditions in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but survived through diversification into floating accommodation. The Group diversified further into Distribution and Financial Services in the late 1980’s and 1990’s.
Today the company employs around 3,500 people, mainly in UK distribution, and has Financial Services offices in USA, Australia, Poland, France and Canada. Its traditional base, Shipping, has undergone something of a renaissance, and grew four-fold in the 2003-07 period on the back of the success of its floating accommodation business, shrewd disposal of ships, and latterly Diving Support Activities.
In 2002, Sir Derek Bibby, 2nd baronet and great-great-grandson of the founder and past chairman and president of the firm, was aged 80 and terminally ill with leukaemia. He committed suicide October 9, 2002 by consuming aluminium phosphide - a poison which hours later caused his body to emit dangerous fumes forcing the evacuation of the hospital where his body was being held.