RANCHO VIEJO, Texas – Economist M. Ray Perryman, president and CEO of The Perryman Group, gave the keynote speech at this year’s State of the Port event hosted by the Brownsville Navigation District. In his address, he projected major economic growth in the region and pointed to specific areas with the most potential.

One such area was the space industry. Perryman says Texas may not account for a majority of the industry now, but it is outpacing the rest of the country in its growth. He estimates that by 2040, the 100,000 jobs attributed to the space industry will grow to about 400,000, with 80 percent of that growth occurring in our area. Like Helen Ramirez, Brownsville’s deputy city manager, Perryman says SpaceX is and will be a huge factor.

Another area teeming with potential is manufacturing. As supply chain issues continue to stymie the country, Perryman says a sea change has occurred, with businesses reassessing their practices and focusing on longer-term solutions.

“The pandemic has had a lot of effects,” said Perryman. “…One effect it’s having right now is a process we’re calling ‘reshoring.’”

Confirming what has been reported by maquiladora industry leaders, Perryman says that many companies are looking to build or reestablish their presence in North America.

“If you’re only focused on the current quarter, you tend to buy everything from the lowest bidder, which means we bought a whole lot of stuff we really, really need from China, from Malaysia, from South Korea and a lot of other places,” said Perryman. “And, we needed it. There’s no question. But, the message that came out very bright and clear was, when that stuff can’t get in, we’re going to have a problem, so maybe we need to have a little bit of it manufactured over here, too.”

This unintended consequence of the pandemic will benefit the U.S. and, the Valley in particular, as Mexico becomes the focus of much of this reshoring.

“You look at Mexico’s growth … and beyond that there’s a whole lot of potential,” said Perryman. “And, what’s happened with the pandemic helps to ignite that potential because it says we really, really, really need to have some North American manufacturing taking place. From a cost-effective standpoint and skills and everything else that goes with that, Northern Mexico is an ideal place to eventually do a lot of that [manufacturing]. And, so I think that’s really important for this area.”

Perryman highlighted the port’s role in the growth and development of these burgeoning sectors and forecasts a continued upward trend in imports and exports there. For Brownsville and the Valley, the port has never been more significant.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a place that was pretty close to a country that had very competitive global wages and had very skilled manufacturing and assembly capabilities to make that kind of stuff?” Perryman teased. “And you had a port nearby that you can get the stuff to them. Wouldn’t that be nice? That would be really nice. Can you all think of a place like that?”

Links:

Ramirez: I am not sure people realize the impact SpaceX is having in Cameron County (riograndeguardian.com)

INDEX leader: More and more manufacturers want to move from China to Mexico (riograndeguardian.com)

Trade experts: Reynosa is already benefiting from supply chain disruptions in Asia (riograndeguardian.com)

Lopez: Port of Brownsville sets new tonnage records (riograndeguardian.com)