Private equity sees opportunity in all things that crumble

Bridge collapse on I-5 near Mount Vernon, Wash., May 23, 2013
Getty Images

Private equity and hedge fund firms are heralding a bright future for infrastructure investing given crumbling pipes, ports and power plants, low interest rates and broke governments.

"The financing shortage right now is staggering around the world," said Andrew Hohns, a managing director at $10 billion hedge and private equity credit firm Mariner Investment Group, during an infrastructure investing conference hosted by the New York Society of Security Analysts Friday in Manhattan.

Hohns noted that average annual project finance debt issuance is between $205 billion and $370 billion a year, while the need is between $2.8 trillion to $3 trillion annually until 2030, according to the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and other international organizations.

(Read more: Governments 'plug funding gap' in major projects)