Private equity interest in the commercial transportation industry has waxed and waned every year going back to 2008, according to the PitchBook Platform. In all, PE firms have backed 276 U.S.- or Canada-based companies in the industry since the start of 2008, which was the peak year in the timeframe in terms of deal activity.
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Deal flow has been up and down since then. Activity plummeted by 47% in 2009 but rebounded in 2010, up 54%. Then, there was another big drop in 2011 (down 30%) and another recovery in 2012 (up 34%). Breaking the deal flow down by sector, investments in road-focused transportation companies have followed a similar trend, up one year and down the next. Marine-focused companies, however, have had a positive three-year stretch going back to 2010, scoring only two private equity deals that year but steadily growing to eight deals in 2013.