Since being founded in 1976, LEI has grown to become one of the largest Canadian owned freight forwarder, with branches across the country and internationally.
LEI’s governing philosophy has always been to manage all of their client’s logistical needs in-house by minimizing reliance on third party carriers. By owning and operating its own equipment and assets, LEI retains more control of customer cargo from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. This reduces the need to deal with multiple companies, thus improving accuracy and responsiveness, while insulating their clients from operational challenges such as rate increases and labour disputes.
While LEI has taken great care to build large and effective transportation networks to better serve its customers, we have never aspired to get too big. We know that our clients are better served by a forwarder that has found that sweet spot between being big enough to ensure logistical needs are easily met, and small enough to make sure our clients get the personalised service they deserve.
At LEI, we have built a culture based around exceeding our customer’s expectations by creating an environment where our employees can care more.
In 1988, LEI acquired a large plot of land on Annacis Island in New Westminster for what would soon become Westcon Terminals. This was a strategic decision on the part of the LEI’s founder, Bruno Locher, as the area would soon be serviced by major new freeways, improving LEI’s ability to handle cargo by better connecting it to the regions major ports and rail lines. The addition of a 150,000 sq. ft. bonded warehouse, adjoining outdoor storage yards, and a cartage fleet came soon after.
Here is a timeline of LEI's growth
LEI’s founder, Bruno Locher, was instrumental in plotting the company’s trajectory from a small office in Vancouver to its current position as a major international freight forwarder. Immigrating to Canada from Switzerland in 1956, he worked as a freight forwarder in various locations across Canada before starting LEI in 1976. His guidance saw LEI through many important changes in the shipping industry, such as the mass-adoption of standardized shipping containers in the late 1970’s.
Bruno was also active in many industry associations, and worked tirelessly to advance the interests of forwarders and their clients. His advocacy lead to the elimination of the container clauses of the 1970’s, regressive labour laws that were remnants of the time before containerization. He also pioneered advances in the establishment of freight consolidation services in the 1980’s, another important advance that benefitted shipping customers and forwarders alike.
Bruno was highly respected throughout the industry and among his staff. He was known for leaving a memorable impression on whomever he met, gave generously to many local charities, and remained active in the industry until his retirement in early 2012.
Soon after his retirement, the ownership and management of LEI was passed on to his two sons, Chris and Greg Locher, both of whom have been active in the industry since 1988.