ROE Logistics


ROE Logistics provides the ties that bind supply and demand in Canada and the United States. The company, founded in 1979, developed from a brokerage business to include export and import freight and transportation. ROE Logistics services all aspects of the freight business, from import, warehouse domination and product distribution to end users.

President and CEO Jim McEwan has recently joined the ROE Logistics team. His 30 years of experience in logistics in the United Kingdom, American and Canada make him an invaluable resource for the company, as ROE Logistics is now expanding to include international distribution. He explains, “We are now doing trans-border distribution across the American and Mexican borders, as well as a lot of business in an international sense from origin and destination countries all over the world.”

Considering his depth of experience, how does McEwan think ROE Logistics distinguishes itself in the world of logistics? “By being small enough to keep a personal relationship with the customers and large enough to buy freight at good market level that allows us to grow the various aspects of our business,” he answers. “And we deliver on 100 per cent of the needs of our customers from beginning to end of the logistics supply chain.”

The overarching philosophy of ROE Logistics is serving customer needs is of the utmost importance. According to McEwan, “We need to deliver a better product to our customers than our competition can. That priority is what drives the bottom line.” He believes that an exemplary customer relationship can foster mutual growth between them and ROE Logistics. “As their company grows, so does ours . If we understand their needs, on a personal basis— rather than company to company—the result is a long- term relationship with very good customers who have supported us, and we them.”


The good relationships formed with ROE Logistics have had residual benefits. During learner times, ROE Logistics has maintained a healthy productivity. McEwan says, “We have grown, even during the recessionary times in certain aspects like warehousing and in international freight, and are getting a bigger piece of the logistics pie.” McEwan proudly adds, “We are pulling ourselves out of the recession. We have successfully done so without releasing any staff or affecting the finances of our staff. That has been one of our strongest successes.”


International ocean freight has changed dramatically recently. Whereas years ago, freight rates were being negotiated on a bi-annual basis, they are now being reviewed by carriers on a weekly basis. The result is an lack of stability in freight rates, and the consequences are haphazard pricing for suppliers who have to surmise the cost of freight on a given week.

On this new system, McEwan says it is no longer possible to give the customer the benefit of a long term locked in rate. Instead, “carriers are enforcing GRI—General Rate Increase— and they are coming in more often.” To counter this, ROE Logistics forecasts the way these GRIs have been affecting the market and, specifically, certain trade lanes, and try to be ahead of the curve. “We make sure to inform our customer of rate changes, how fuel is affecting the rate and the currency, which allows them to plan as far ahead as possible in order to keep their product properly priced,” says McEwan.

Daily communication with their customers is an essential component of this service strategy.

“By letting our customer know of changes in the market place, and changes in their own country and country of destination, we keep them ahead of the competition,” he adds.

To accomplish this, ROE Logistics and their overseas partners alert one another to news in country of origin or destination. Events may be known in the market that are not widely dispersed in the media. Steamships, for example, are reducing tonnage available for a certain trade lane. ROE Logistics will fish for an alternative ahead of the weight change. “As tonnage is reduced, market demand goes up,” explains McEwan, “and we get ahead of that and negotiate rates prior to them going up for a longer period of time.”


Years of ROE Logistics experience have led to relationships and connections with the subsidiary industries that fall under the logistics umbrella. “We have connections with all of the carriers, the rail companies, airlines, ocean carriers and trucking companies. We have established friendly, not just financial, relationships. The reality is, if something happens, such as seasonal difficulties, we can reach out to different companies to keep ahead of any impediments.”

To contribute to the well being of the local communities through which ROE Logistics pass through, the company has an active charitable branch which participates in local breast cancer fundraisers. It has also raised donations for The Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and is a supporter of Earth Hour, among many other local endeavours.

That the team behind ROE Logistics is as interwoven with the fabric of the community it serves is both a cause and effect of the logistic industry. It serves to connect individuals and companies that keep the economic engine of our country running. The relationships forged by years of experience in the field, good leadership and forward looking management combine to make ROE Logistics a Canadian success story.