Mersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseysideMersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseyside


By Mersey Maritime

Jonathan Willoughby is establishing himself as one of Liverpool city region’s most dynamic maritime and energy entrepreneurs.

Mr Willoughby, 46, has 25 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector also runs welding and fabrication company Yorkwall Engineering in Ellesmere Port.

And the former member of the armed forces has recently added Liverpool marine fabrication firm and Mersey Maritime member, Wren Industrial, to his business portfolio.

He is aiming to double turnover at Wren in the next 12 months and the purchase forms part of a broader ‘build and buy’ strategy which will see the addition of more complementary engineering companies, eventually merging all into one new brand name.

Ferry contract

Wren Industrial has just delivered the manufacture and installation of a collection of new water-tight and fire-rated doors for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

The welding and fabrication specialist has a long-standing relationship with the famous ferry firm, which is renowned as the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world – founded in 1830.

The latest work involved ‘through-night’ door maintenance onboard freight, passenger and vehicle ferries the Manannan, which operates between Liverpool and the Isle of Man, and Ben-my-Chree.
Wren engineers travelled to the Port of Heysham in Lancashire to carry out the installation work while sailing overnight to avoid disruption to service.

“The installation of new doors on the Manannan and Ben-my-Chree involved full removal and replacement of a number of doors,” said Mr Willoughby.

“This included all the fixtures and fittings from handles and locks to seals and latches.

“The new doors were designed and fabricated with mild-steel which we treated at our manufacturing hall in Liverpool, before being transported and welded into position.

“They will be used by passengers and crew and are made to a high grade, water-tight and fire-rated specification.

“Wren Industrial has been working in the commercial maritime market for close to 30 years and specifically with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for more than 20 years.”

Wider ambitions

Mr Willoughby says the commercial maritime sector will remain “pivotal’ to Wren’s growth but he also has wider ambitions for the business.

He explained: “We are also targeting military, leisure, offshore oil and gas, as well as renewable markets.

“We have a number of heavyweight projects in the pipeline which we are looking to land towards the back end of autumn, including a high-level military contract.

“On land, we are also aiming to ramp up work in the industrial market building on excellent work we have delivered for the likes of Lloyd & Jones industrial supplies and Kirby pump maker Selwood.”

Track record

Wren benefits greatly from a robust track record, developed of decades, working for the likes of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The firm is well-known for its high-quality engineering capability and excellent customer service standards.

“Wren Industrial is a problem solver and the deep knowledge of our 20-strong engineering team is massively important to the success of our business,” Mr Willoughby added.

“This level of expertise allows us to undertake virtually any welding and fabrication job on any type of vessel.

“The scale of our operation with a 6,000 sq ft workshop and wide range of plant equipment further enables us to work with many materials including carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminium and plastics.”


Tony McDonough, Consultant at YB News

About maritime
Mersey Maritime is the representative body for the Maritime Sector and related industry sectors operating across the Liverpool City Region. We work with businesses of all sizes and in all locations to develop strong, market-responsive supply chains and promote Liverpool’s maritime industry as a world class Centre of Excellence.


Mersey Maritime is one of Europe’s most successful maritime cluster organisations, representing the interests of over 1700 Maritime, Logistics and Energy businesses on Merseyside and beyond.

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