How to Become a Freight Agent

Shipping by freight is an essential process of transporting a variety of goods and equipment. Freight agents are trained workers that manage a variety of freight shipments for a variety of companies and organizations.

What does a freight agent do?

Freight agents work for a variety of shipping organizations to expedite and route a variety of freight shipments via road, air, rail, and sea. They take orders from customers and arrange pickup and delivery details. They provide advice to customers on transportation methods, shipping rates, and insurance options. They check documents to determine the content of freight and prepare the necessary shipping documents. Freight agents also prepare and check bills to determine the charges of shipments. They help load and unload freight and make sure weight is distributed evenly on vehicles. They must keep detailed records of all freight that is shipped, received, and stored. They also document any items that are missing or damaged. Freight agents usually track shipments using electronic equipment such as scanners and barcodes. Freight agents often contact claims departments and vendors to resolve shipment problems and arrange for repairs.

What kind of training does a freight agent need?

Freight agents typically need at least a high school diploma or GED. Most freight agents learn their skills through informal on the job training. Many employers prefer applicants with related work experience. New freight agents typically begin by shadowing experienced workers. They perform simple tasks such as checking addresses. They move on to more advanced duties as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Freight agents complete additional training as needed throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a freight agent?

Employment of freight agents is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 24% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growth of the economy and increase in freight will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for freight agents with extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace freight agents that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do freight agents make?

As of March 2010, freight agents with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $29,549 and $39,733. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $31,855 and $56,993 (2).

A career as a freight agent is a great choice for people with a strong interest in performing a variety of activities related to the transportation of freight. Freight agents must have a solid understanding of the necessary policies and procedures related to incoming and outgoing freight shipments. Patience, detail orientation, physical stamina, and good problem solving are essential traits. Freight agents must have good communication and interpersonal skills and ability to work as part of a team. They must be able to effectively work under stress and pressure to meet specific deadlines.

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