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From Site Selection magazine, March 2021

Machinery Still Revs the Economy, But Logistics and Life Sciences Are Where the Growth Is


Top Industries Map

Judging by the number of e-commerce and health-related facility investments all around us in this pandemic year, you’d expect those categories to vault to the top of any global ranking by industry sector.

They didn’t quite reach the summit, but logistics (+19.3%) and life sciences (+12%) show the biggest — and only — growth rates among the Top Industries of 2020, as judged by the number of projects tracked by NAICS code in the Conway Data Analytics Database. The database since the 1980s has tracked facility investments by corporate end users across all world geographies and all industry sectors.

Life sciences rises from No. 7 to No. 5 in this year’s rankings, led by projects from the likes of Samsung Biologics in Incheon; Merck in the UK and Seqiris, the subsidiary created by Australia’s CSL Ltd. in 2015 after acquiring the Novartis influenza vaccine business and combining it with vaccine subsidiary bioCSL. The company announced in November it will build the only cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere. Based in Tullmarine, in the Melbourne Airport Business Park, the facility is expected to be operational in 2026 and will support 1,000+ STEM jobs in Victoria as well as a supply chain worth more than $300 million annually. The Victorian Government will also contribute to the project.

Top Industries

“The facility will be an important addition to our global influenza manufacturing supply chain, incorporating the technology platform used in our Holly Springs, North Carolina facility,” said CSL CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault.

“While the facility is located in Australia, it will have a truly global role,” said Seqirus General Manager Stephen Marlo. “Demand for flu vaccines continues to grow each year, in recognition of the importance of influenza vaccination programs. This investment will boost our capacity to ensure as many people as possible — right across the world — can access flu vaccines in the future.”

Logistics jumps from No. 5 to No. 3, partly on the power of more than 150 projects from one company: Amazon. That’s right: One company accounts for more than 20% of all the logistics investments Site Selection tracked last year that involved over $1 million invested, 20 new jobs or 20,000 new sq. ft. of space.

Machinery, equipment and construction still reigns as No. 1 even with a 10.3% drop-off from its 2020 project total. Business and financial services is No. 4 (down from No. 3) with a 14.2% year-over-year drop in projects, as office projects of all types wait in pandemic-induced, work-from-home purgatory. Food & beverage had only a slight drop of 4.4%, as even temporary shutdowns of food production didn’t last long in such a necessary sector.

Shown on the map are the five largest facility investments by capital investment in each of the top five sectors.

Adam Bruns
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns is editor in chief and head of publications for Site Selection, and before that has served as managing editor beginning in February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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