Cargo and Freight Agents

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Also known as:
Cargo Agent, Cargo Router, Freight Agent, Freight Shipping Agent, Ramp Service Agent

ABOUT CARGO AND FREIGHT AGENT CAREERS
Video transcript

Businesses need orders filled and shipments moved as quickly as possible. Cargo and freight agents are the people who help make that happen. Whatever the size, route, or nature of the shipment, these agents handle the details of getting cargo from the place of origination to destination swiftly and efficiently.

Cargo and freight agents take orders from customers and arrange getting the freight to the loading platform. They plot the route and prepare all necessary documents, such as descriptions of the cargo, amount, type, weight, and dimensions. If the goods are being imported or exported, the agent also handles getting the required customs clearances.

Agents make sure the cargo is organized according to destination and calculate the cost of shipping. Upon arrival, they check for missing items and record damage, then arrange payment and pick-up by customers.

Although entry-level positions in this department usually require only a high school diploma, familiarity with computers will help you in this job. They're used for everything from processing orders placed over the internet to tracing shipments by barcode to completing insurance paperwork. Specialized software helps cargo and freight agents expedite the movement of shipments to meet the increasing demands for overnight delivery.

While part of the work day is spent in an office, these agents are also found in terminals and loading docks, where environment is rarely temperature-controlled. Evening and weekend hours are common. With additional training and experience, freight and cargo agents can forward their career prospects to better-paying supervisory positions. Cargo and freight are the lifeblood of commerce. This career is at the heart of the entire system.

SNAPSHOT
Expedite and route movement of incoming and outgoing cargo and freight shipments in airline, train, and trucking terminals and shipping docks. Take orders from customers and arrange pickup of freight and cargo for delivery to loading platform. Prepare and examine bills of lading to determine shipping charges and tariffs.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
MED
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Determine method of shipment and prepare bills of lading, invoices, and other shipping documents.

Track delivery progress of shipments.

Advise clients on transportation and payment methods.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
TOP SKILLS
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.