Cargo and Freight Agents Career Information
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Nature of the WorkCargo and freight agents
arrange for and track incoming and outgoing cargo and freight shipments in airline,
train, or trucking terminals or on shipping docks. They expedite movement of shipments by determining the
route that shipments are to take and preparing all necessary shipping documents.
The agents take orders from customers and arrange for pickup of freight or cargo
for delivery to loading platforms. They may keep records of the properties of
the cargo, such as amount, type, weight, and dimensions. They keep a tally of
missing items, record conditions of damaged items, and document any excess supplies.
Cargo and freight agents arrange cargo according to its destination. They also determine the shipping rates and other charges that can sometimes apply to the freight. For imported or exported freight, they verify that the proper customs paperwork is in order. They often track shipments using electronic data, such as bar codes, and answer customer inquiries on the status of their shipments.
EmploymentCargo and freight agents held about 60,000 jobs in 2009. Most jobs were in transportation. About 35 percent of cargo and freight agents worked in transportation services, 23 percent worked for air carriers, and 10 percent worked for local and long distance trucking establishments. Department stores employed 12 percent, while personnel supply services employed 3 percent.
of cargo and freight agents is expected to grow more slowly than the average
for all occupations through 2010. Although cargo traffic is expected to grow faster than it has in
the past, employment of cargo and freight agents will not grow as rapidly because
of technological advances. For example, the increasing use of bar codes on cargo
and freight allows agents and customers to track these shipments quickly over
the Internet, rather than manually tracking their location. In addition, customs
and insurance paperwork now can be completed over the Internet by customers,
reducing the need for cargo and freight agents.
Despite these advances in technology that dampen job growth among cargo and freight agents, job openings will continue to arise due to increases in buying over the Internet, which will result in more shipments, and the importance of same-day delivery, which expands the role of agents. In addition, many job openings will be created to replace cargo and freight agents who leave the occupation.
Related OccupationsCargo and
freight agents plan and coordinate cargo shipments using airlines, trains, and
trucks. They also arrange freight pickup with customers. Others who do similar work are couriers
and messengers; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; weighers, measurers,
checkers, and samplers; truckdrivers and driver/sales workers; and postal service
Sources of Additional InformationInformation about job
opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the
State employment service.