Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the global transport sector is set to hit more than £40bn during 2015, beating last year’s figure of £39.6bn, according to the latest KPMG Transport Tracker.

Consolidation, geographical expansion and vertical specialisation (the import of goods for production and subsequent export of the finished product) remain the predominant reasons for transactions in the sector, according to KPMG.

This was underlined this week by FedEx’s bid for TNT Express, which KPMG said is an example of a classic geographic play to strengthen the US firm’s European ground and air network.

Other trends for the growth in activity include an increase in private investment in transport infrastructure operators, which KPMG said is a key driver of business transactions.

The ongoing surge in online shopping is also seeing many large logistics firms increasingly targeting shares in specialist IT and e-commerce enterprises in a bid to develop new business opportunities.

KPMG believes that in the future, transactions of this nature will increasingly characterise the M&A events in the transport sector.

Latest figures show that in the first quarter of this year, global transactions worth £6.7bn were completed, with further acquisitions valued at £6.7bn currently in the pipeline.

Acquisition purchase prices increased last year too, as renewed interest in transport companies against a backdrop of limited availability of suitable target companies, had an inevitable postive impact.