Merger and acquisition activity within the global transportation and logistics industry jumped nearly 15% in the second quarter this year compared to the same period of 2010, according to a quarterly survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), with domestic deals involving regional and local companies, particularly within Asia, accounting for nearly 75% of the transactions.

“Deal activity should continue its recovery in line with global economic growth,” explained Kenneth Evans, PwC’s U.S. transportation and logistics leader. “The longer a moderate recovery continues, the more likely it is that strategic acquirers will feel pressure from investors to use their relatively ample liquidity positions to find ways to supplement organic growth.”

He added that this trend should provide for incremental gains in total transportation and logistics deal volume and value during the second half of 2011, with the environment more conducive to larger deals.

“The strength of domestic deals is somewhat surprising given that during a recovery, companies might be expected to be more willing to take on the challenges of cross-border transactions,” noted Evans. “However, considering the importance of Asia … and the prevalence of higher-growth emerging markets in this region, it seems most plausible that these companies are finding better return opportunities on deals in their local markets than they are in foreign countries.”

While shipping and air passenger carrier deals drove the majority of activity in the second quarter, accounting for 65% of deals worth $50 million or more, continued interest and activity in transportation infrastructure remains a key driver for mergers and acquisitions in the sector, Evans pointed out.

The reason infrastructure deals should continue at a robust pace in developed markets is because of budget issues, according to PwC’s analysis, as large countries are grappling with the need to make transportation infrastructure improvements while also pursuing fiscal austerity. This could potentially drive additional mega deal activity globally in the second half of 2011, the firm said.

Altogether, 47 transportation and logistics deals worth $50 million or more were announced in the second quarter this year, totaling $13.5 billion. While total deal making value decreased to $13.5 billion compared to $18.4 billion in the second quarter of 2010, value was up approximately 30% from $10.4 billion in the first quarter this year.

For the first six months of 2011, there were a total of 92 announced deals worth $50 million or more, putting deal activity in the transportation and logistics industry on track to meet 2010 levels, according to PwC.