Introduction of Cargo And Freight Agent
Ready, set, go! Before embarking on a cargo or freight consignment’s voyage to its new destination, a Cargo and Freight Agent must complete numerous tasks. When it arrives, there are several boxes to check before delivery is considered complete. The entire goods-forwarding procedure necessitates extensive coordination and logistical competence.
Similar Job Titles
- Documentation Clerk
- Drop Shipment Clerk
- Freight Broker
- Load Planner
- Logistics Coordinator
- Logistics Service Representative
Typical Job Responsibilities
What do Cargo and Freight Agents do?
A Cargo and Freight Agent would typically need to:
- Coordination and routing of incoming and outgoing cargo and freight shipments for the transportation industries in airline, railroad and trucking terminals, as well as shipping ports; facilitation of raw materials and product delivery between destinations
- Discuss with clients the best shipping choice for their needs, whether accelerated or inexpensive, as well as the delivery timetable; determine freight delivery prices locally and/or internationally; give tracking options to ensure deadlines and objectives are met
- Negotiate shipping prices and insurance payment responsibility between the service provider and the client.
- Define the cargo’s travel routes from pick-up to delivery; finalise modes of transportation; prepare for temporary storage if necessary; and assign responsibilities for loading and unloading the shipment.
- Take orders from customers and arrange for goods and cargo to be picked up and delivered to loading platforms; create and examine bills of lading to estimate shipping rates and tariffs.
- Prepare insurance forms, cargo descriptions, bills, invoices, liability waivers, and other paperwork for customers to examine and sign before shipment.
- Arrange customs clearance for imports and exports; complete all necessary documentation, including customs forms
- Assist customers in selecting protective packaging that is appropriate for the dimensions and nature of the things to be shipped in order to ensure safe delivery; receive and transmit items to packaging and warehousing teams with shipping instructions; prepare the items for transportation and pre-shipment inspection
- Retrieve stored products; collaborate with freight management and shipping department workers to track for missing, misplaced or delayed deliveries; organise for the carriage of ready-to-deliver cargo; assure their safe arrival at the destination after shipment
- Collaborate with logistics providers and other shipping industry parties; keep them up to date on shipments; provide price quotes and other needed information
- Monitor daily shipment inventories and logs; ensure prompt pick-up of products and accuracy of route information; use tracking software to track cargo and freight progress; confirm receipt and notify customers of delivery completion
- To acquire, process, and record paperwork and payment for delivery packages, follow the routine.
Standard Work Environment
Cargo and Freight Agents typically work in temperature-controlled shipping and receiving hubs, warehouses, and stockrooms. You may also be required to go to job sites and work on outdoor loading platforms.
While Cargo and Freight Agents typically work 35 to 40 hours per week, a major shipment may require you to work evenings and weekends. When major goods forwarders offer 24-hour service, you may be asked to work shifts. Another option for meeting the needs of clients is flexible working.
Finding a new job may appear difficult. Cargo & Freight Agents can improve their job search by soliciting referrals from their network, contacting firms directly, using job search platforms, attending job fairs, leveraging social media, and inquiring at staffing agencies. Third-party logistics (3PL) organisations, rather than specific company logistics departments, typically handle goods.
Job vacancies can be found in the classified section of daily newspapers, employment journals, and online job boards. Candidates can also apply for positions directly with transport companies.
Cargo and Freight Agents are generally employed by:
- Courier Agencies
- Cargo Shipping Companies
- Local Companies
- National Companies
- International Companies
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional groups and organisations, such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), are essential for Cargo and Freight Agents who want to advance their careers or interact with other professionals in their sector or occupation. Membership in one or more of these organisations adds value to your CV while strengthening your credentials and qualifications.
- Competition amongst service providers
- The need for attention to detail as any error in filling out a form or filling out a wrong form can delay shipment
- Physically strenuous work that involves standing for extended periods and lifting items, since not all agents have access to automated equipment; exposure to extreme temperatures in cold storage rooms or on outdoor loading platforms
- Stress that arises from factors beyond control, such as delays caused by weather
- Making sure that last-minute changes and decisions resulting in potential delays in shipment are communicated to stakeholders
- Rising fuel costs; the need to find new ways to streamline the shipping process, optimise travel routes, and limit fuel costs
- Collaborating with several global shipping partners can compromise customer service as messages may be incompletely or inaccurately conveyed through translation; the need for sharing timely and accurate information to ensure transparency to customers
- Shortage of truck drivers to move cargo between intermodal points
- Difficulties in incorporating the latest technology into a standardized process
- Tackling government and international regulations; keeping up to date with current shipping practices, local rules, laws, and fees in destination countries
- Impact on the global economy; taking precautions to counter impacts such as inflation and trade wars while ensuring reliable service
- Lower demand for services due to restricted global economic activity caused by the pandemic and lockdowns; providing guaranteed and secure space following recovery from the setback
- Communicating demurrage and detention issues to supply chain partners and customers; recognise that the charges can increase over time and try to avoid them or have a realistic expectation
- Managing the volatility of ocean freight rates, caused by one or a mix of various factors, such as service charges, peak season surcharges, geopolitical crises, pandemics, innovation, bunker and container capacities, and foreign exchange rates
Suggested Work Experience
Previous work-related abilities, expertise, or experience are preferred by employers. However, if you have worked in other related fields and gained abilities in customer service, IT, planning, or general office work, you can apply for the job even if you have no direct experience in goods forwarding. Part-time or casual work, as well as shadowing in relevant companies, can assist you in developing such skills and job experience. A year of on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced personnel will teach you what it takes to carry out your obligations. A recognised apprenticeship programme could be used for the training.
Because on-the-job training teaches candidates the ropes of their job, a high school certificate is usually adequate to qualify for the role of Cargo and Freight Agent. Math, geography, English, modern languages, computer programmes, and office operations are all useful courses to take in high school. Math skills will assist you in determining weights, quantities, and shipping prices, as well as sketching out the best shipping routes. After high school, you can enrol in courses in aviation operations, business practices, and modern language. Computer classes will teach you how to enter and retrieve cargo shipping information.
Some colleges and institutions that specialised in aviation studies may provide professional certificate programmes to aspiring Cargo & Freight agents. These programmes teach you about cargo operations, including aircraft operations, hazardous materials, and customer service.
A degree may serve as a stepping stone to higher-level jobs or graduate training programmes offered by larger organisations. Accounting or finance, business or management, or business with languages are also useful disciplines. Economics, geography, and modern foreign languages are also useful. Supply chain management, transportation, distribution, and logistics are all directly tied to your job. While majoring in logistics and transportation may not be readily available, other degrees, such as business studies and economics, frequently incorporate modules relevant to various areas of supply chain management.
Certifications, Licenses and Registration
A Cargo and Freight Agent’s proficiency in a skill set is demonstrated through work experience, training, and passing a test.
Certification from a reputable and objective body can help you stand out in a competitive employment market, carry a large wage premium of up to 18%, boost your prospects of progression, and enable you to work as an independent consultant. By including a Code of Ethics, successful certification programmes defend the public welfare.
Depending on the sort of goods to ship and the business activities, some goods & Freight Agents may require a licence. The licencing process is handled by individual government agencies. It usually necessitates passing an exam in addition to meeting eligibility requirements such as a certain degree of education, job experience, training, or completion of an internship, residency, or apprenticeship.
Projected Career Map
Although there are few opportunities for Cargo and Freight Agents to advance, their performance, experience, and attainment of professional or vocational qualifications, such as in business and logistics, can lead to supervisory or senior roles, such as Senior Freight Forwarder or Senior Export Administrator, and Export Office Manager or Shipping Manager.
Some agents may transition to comparable clerical employment by utilising the transferability of their abilities and hands-on expertise. The limited size of some large export or import enterprises with in-house goods-forwarding workers inhibits career growth, and employee relocation may facilitate it.
Employers value your broad expert knowledge of procedures such as business risk management, customs, insurance services, sales, IT development, quality procedures, road transport management, sales, security, supply chain management, warehouse management, and logistics management.
You can stay in transportation and logistics or go on to the entertainment and sports industries, where you could transport film and concert sets, racing vehicles and sports equipment. You could potentially work in the aerospace, power generating, ship component manufacturing, and automotive industries. Another alternative is to look for jobs in trading firms that import and export items from and to specific nations or regions.
You can improve your work prospects by learning computer skills and becoming proficient in filing, bookkeeping, and other clerical duties. Taking certificate programs that teach aspiring Cargo and Freight Agents about cargo operations, aviation operations, hazardous materials, and customer service may also help them get work.
Beneficial Professional Development
CPD will assist an active Cargo & Freight Agent in developing personal skills and competency through work-based learning, a professional activity, formal education, or self-directed learning. It enables you to always improve your skills, regardless of your age, employment, or degree of expertise.
Conclusion of Cargo And Freight Agent
It could be a birthday present delivered to a child’s door or a shipment of raw materials for a plant. As a Cargo and Freight Agent, you are responsible for the safe, timely, and cost-effective transportation of cargo from and to various geographical areas, regardless of the distance between them. You represent your organisation to clients, giving options and assuaging fears, which is critical to the logistics process. From developing your customer service skills to honing your data management abilities, your work will keep you on your toes both physically and metaphorically.
Advice from the Wise
Seek feedback from your clients and use it to better understand the outcomes of your service offering. If customer reviews indicate that goods are damaged or missing, strive to identify and correct any packaging mistakes.
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