Many experienced manufacturing stakeholders might not take rumors about reshoring seriously. Though business media has touted a growing manufacturing renaissance for many years, the U.S. industrial sector has yet to see much in the way of tangible results from this predicted resurgence before 2021. Even with 83% of manufacturers indicating a likeliness to reshore due to tariffs, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other reasons, taking those statistics to heart may prove difficult for industry skeptics. So is reshoring really happening this time, or is it yet another persistent myth?
Finding Signs of Reshoring Activity
Reshoring is an expensive and lengthy process, so companies often hesitate before committing. With that said, the incentives for reshoring have never been so prevalent. A seemingly endless stream of tariffs in 2018-19 under the previous administration destabilized U.S. trading relationships with China and other common outsourcing destinations. From 2020 on, a global pandemic has continued to disrupt manufacturing within those same countries. Work stoppages, labor shortages, and port shutdowns on both sides of the ocean have further complicated import/export relationships between U.S. businesses and overseas suppliers.
As a result, U.S.-based companies have begun investing resources into reshoring production and logistics activities within or closer to the United States. These investments provide visible and measurable evidence that reshoring as a concept is gaining more traction. For example:
These events signal that major companies have turned their attention to reshoring as a viable strategy to address problems stemming from the volatile global business environment. It seems clear by this point that the U.S. business community will reshore manufacturing and supply chain assets to some degree.
When Will Reshoring Happen?
Rather than asking if reshoring will happen, at this point, the more accurate question is: When, and how much? Not all reshoring businesses will move 100% of their assets to the United States. Some will establish redundant manufacturing capabilities between the United States and nearshore or outsource destinations to improve supply chain resiliency through geographic diversity. Others may choose nearshoring over onshoring altogether to avoid heavy automation investments and access more affordable labor. And, of course, some will inevitably choose to maintain their current production model for as long as they can.
For companies seeking to move some or all of their manufacturing back onto United States soil, the process for closing up shop in another country can be complicated. This fact is especially true for China, where ownership of machinery, molds, tooling, and intellectual property may be challenged in Chinese courts when U.S. businesses try to leave. China also has a complex system of taxes, fees, and exit permits that slow down the departure process for foreign businesses.
As a result, near-term reshoring activity will involve U.S. companies shifting toward domestic sourcing strategies rather than moving owned assets. Given the costs and complexities associated with reshoring, it will be several years at a minimum before the United States begins to see significant movement of manufacturing facilities and equipment to the United States, with any reshoring boom probably happening somewhere beyond 2025.
About Phoenix Logistics
Founded by Frank P. Crivello in 1994, Phoenix Investors and its affiliates (collectively “Phoenix”) are a leader in the acquisition, development, renovation, and repositioning of industrial facilities throughout the United States. Utilizing a disciplined investment approach and successful partnerships with institutional capital sources, corporations and public stakeholders, Phoenix has developed a proven track record of generating superior risk adjusted returns, while providing cost-efficient lease rates for its growing portfolio of national tenants. Its efforts inspire and drive the transformation and reinvigoration of the economic engines in the communities it serves. Phoenix continues to be defined by thoughtful relationships, sophisticated investment tools, cost efficient solutions, and a reputation for success.