What Does A Cargo and Freight Agent Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Cargo and Freight Agents

Cargo and Freight Agents 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.

Salary
$47170
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Cargo and Freight Agents 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.

  • Estimate freight or postal rates and record shipment costs and weights.
  • Keep records of all goods shipped, received, and stored.
  • Enter shipping information into a computer by hand or by a hand-held scanner that reads bar codes on goods.
  • Check import or export documentation to determine cargo contents and use a tariff coding system to classify goods according to fee or tariff group.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Cargo and Freight Agents keep records of all goods shipped, received, and stored. They route received goods to the first available flight or to appropriate storage areas or departments, using forklifts, hand trucks, or other equipment.

A typical day for a Cargo and Freight Agent will also include:

  • Prepare manifests showing numbers of airplane passengers and baggage, mail, and freight weights, transmitting data to destinations.
  • Attach address labels, identification codes, and shipping instructions to containers.
  • Enter shipping information into a computer by hand or by a hand-held scanner that reads bar codes on goods.
  • Notify consignees, passengers, or customers of freight or baggage arrival and arrange for delivery.
  • Direct delivery trucks to shipping doors or designated marshaling areas and help load and unload goods safely.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Cargo and Freight Agents also direct or participate in cargo loading to ensure completeness of load and even distribution of weight. They may also open cargo containers and unwrap contents, using steel cutters, crowbars, or other hand tools.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Cargo and Freight Agents contact vendors or claims adjustment departments to resolve shipment problems or contact service depots to arrange for repairs. They might also assemble containers and crates used to transport items, such as machines or vehicles.

In addition, they pack goods for shipping, using tools such as staplers, strapping machines, and hammers.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them coordinate and supervise the activities of workers engaged in packing and shipping merchandise.

To some Cargo and Freight Agents, it is also their responsibility to negotiate and arrange transport of goods with shipping or freight companies.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Average

Is this job meaningful

Low

64% said they were satisfied with their job and 44% said they found their job meaningful.


CFR Rinkens

My name is Joseph Giranda and I’m the Director of Commercial Relations at CFR Rinkens, a global leader in the shipping of commercial cargo, specializing in the containerized shipping of motor vehicles. We provide global shipping solutions for any cargo, such as commercial freight, household goods, and vehicles. Handling a variety of cargo and freight … Read More


Nationwide Courier Service

The difference between cargo and freight is that cargo traditionally refers to goods that are transported internationally via oceans or by air, whereas freight refers to goods that are transported across the land. However, both roles are pretty similar, they’re both focused on the transportation of goods, both require you to plan and organize the … Read More


Burns Logistics

We are a transportation agency, which is similar to a freight agent, but operates just a little differently and is, therefore, less common. As a transportation agent, I represent trucking companies to various retailers, manufacturers, food production companies, and anyone else who might have freight. We help people with freight find the trucks to move … Read More


Pros

Suitable for people who like to follow routines.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

Salary is below average.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$47170 per year

Average hourly wage

$23 per hour

Entry-level Cargo and Freight Agents with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $27,780 to $34,400 per year or $13 to $17 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $69,890 $34
Senior (Top 25%) $56,060 $27
Median $43,770 $21
Junior (Bottom 25%) $34,400 $17
No experience (Bottom 10%) $27,780 $13

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Cargo and Freight Agents based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Office Administrative Services $58700 $28.22
Support Activities for Water Transportation $58480 $28.12
Federal Executive Branch $58310 $28.03
Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers $57370 $27.58
Computer Systems Design and Related Services $54480 $26.19
Deep Sea, Coastal, and Great Lakes Water Transportation $52770 $25.37
Motor Vehicle and Motor Vehicle Parts and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers $51420 $24.72
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods $50900 $24.47
Chemical Manufacturing $50560 $24.31
Rail Transportation $50420 $24.24

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Cargo and Freight Agents work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Cargo and Freight Agents including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Freight Transportation Arrangement 53930 $49110 $23.61
Support Activities for Air Transportation 8190 $38010 $18.27
Couriers and Express Delivery Services 6110 $46010 $22.12
Truck Transportation 6070 $47420 $22.80
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 4680 $44750 $21.52
Warehousing and Storage 2010 $43950 $21.13
Management of Companies and Enterprises 1140 $46480 $22.35
Support Activities for Water Transportation 990 $58480 $28.12
Deep Sea, Coastal, and Great Lakes Water Transportation 710 $52770 $25.37
Rail Transportation 340 $50420 $24.24

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
0%

40 hours
44%

More than 40 hours
56%

Working schedule

66%

29%

5%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
100%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
100%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
20%

Every day
69%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
61%

Once a year
5%

Once a month
9%

Once a week
0%

Every day
25%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
15%

Slightly competitive
0%

Moderately competitive
17%

Highly competitive
58%

Extremely competitive
10%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
6%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
5%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
82%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
59%

Once a year or more
15%

Once a month or more
17%

Once a week or more
1%

Every day
9%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
76%

Once a year or more
9%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
15%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
86%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
9%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
93%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
2%

Associate’s Degree or similar
6%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

General Office Occupations and Clerical Services

A program that prepares individuals to provide basic administrative support under the supervision of office managers, administrative assistants, secretaries, and other office personnel. Includes instruction in typing, keyboarding, filing, general business correspondence, office equipment operation, and communications skills.

Traffic, Customs, and Transportation Clerk

A program that prepares individuals to perform duties associated with managing revenue-based customs, traffic, or transportation services, such as control of domestic and international traffic, toll roads and waterways, and to assist in the dispatch and control of fleet-based traffic for businesses and public services. Includes instruction in record-keeping; preparation of customs and transportation documentation; operation of communications equipment; basic transportation operations management; tariffs, rates and fares; revenue collection and change-making; and interpretation of customs or transportation regulations and related legislation, policies, and procedures.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
28%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
5%

6 months to 1 year
27%

1 to 2 years
20%

2 to 4 years
19%

4 to 6 years
0%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
36%

1 to 3 months
41%

3 to 6 months
12%

6 months to 1 year
12%

1 to 2 years
0%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Organizer

People with this personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.

The Builder
52%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
24%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
14%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
33%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
81%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
90%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk-taking and often deal with business.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
43%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
43%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
43%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
62%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
62%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
52%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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