China, India most popular for transport investment

The US is the third most popular jurisdiction for investment in the transport sector, a survey by Norton Rose Fulbright finds.

A majority of transportation professionals see China, India and the US as the most promising markets over the next five years, according to Norton Rose Fulbright.

In a report, the law firm found that 73 percent of the 200 executives it surveyed were optimistic about the sector's growth potential and investment opportunities over the period, with Asia and North America identified as the most popular regions.

“Sentiment is high in the aviation and rail industries, buoyed by the expectation of increased passenger numbers,” Harry Theochari, global head of transport at Norton Rose Fulbright, said in a statement.

Those in the aviation, rail and road industries were most optimistic due to lower oil prices, the availability of funding and the impact of infrastructure investments, while 85 percent of those in the shipping industry expressed a negative outlook, citing overcapacity in many subsectors of the market.

Bank debt is expected to serve as the sector's principal source of funding over the next two years, followed by capital markets and private equity. Of those surveyed, 74 percent expect the availability of funds to stay the same or even increase over the next five years.

Investment in technology is also expected to rise over the next five years, with 67 percent of respondents citing low carbon technology and predictive analytics as the key drivers.

According to the survey, mergers and acquisitions and infrastructure improvements present the best investment opportunities.

In terms of risk, 52 percent of those surveyed identified a global recession as the greatest threat to their industry. But they still expressed optimism that the transport sector would continue to grow over the next five years, thanks to an expected rise in passenger and freight volumes as well as an increase in the number of routes and services.

“While respondents are most fearful of the impact of a worldwide recession, they will be watching closely the implications of the UK's referendum result,” Theochari said. “The transport sector is international and highly regulated and any UK exit from the EU would need to take into account a number of complex issues.”