Cargo and Freight Agents Career Information
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Cargo 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 shipments by determining the route that shipments are to take and by preparing all necessary shipping documents. The agents take orders from customers and arrange for the pickup of freight or cargo for delivery to loading platforms. Cargo and freight agents may keep records of the cargo, such as its amount, type, weight, and dimensions. They keep a tally of missing items, record the condition 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. Cargo and freight agents often track shipments electronically, using bar codes, and answer customers' inquiries on the status of their shipments.
Cargo and freight agents held about 70,000 jobs in 2009. Most jobs were in transportation. Approximately 20 percent worked in the air transportation industry and 8 percent worked in the truck transportation industry. Couriers employed another 11 percent. In addition, about 43 percent worked for firms engaged in support activities for the transportation industry.
Median annual earnings of cargo and freight agents in May 2009 were $34,250. The middle 50 percent earned between $25,720 and $43,250. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,700, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $54,480.
These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.
Cargo and freight agents plan and coordinate shipments of cargo by 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, recordkeeping; truck drivers and driver/sales workers; and Postal Service workers.
Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service.