Freight Agent Job Description
Freight agents coordinate incoming and outgoing shipments through shipping docks, airlines, trucking terminals, and trains. They use complex computer tracking systems to ensure that shipments are picked up and delivered on time.
Responsibilities for freight agent jobs often include:
- Taking orders from customers.
- Arranging the pickup of cargo and freight for delivery.
- Negotiating the transport of goods with freight and shipping companies.
- Determining shipping charges and tariffs through preparation of bills of lading.
- Counting and inspecting items received and checking the quantity against invoices.
Work Environment and Schedule
Freight agents work in stockrooms, warehouses, and shipping and receiving stations. Most warehouses and shipping environments are not temperature controlled, so they can be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.
This can be a very physically demanding occupation. Freight agents typically spend their entire shifts standing, walking, bending, and moving about the warehouse. In some cases, they have to operate a forklift or other equipment to move freight from one location to another.
Because of the physical nature of this job, small injuries like muscle strains are common. Though these injuries are impossible to avoid completely, remaining in good physical shape can help reduce the risk of injury.
The majority of freight agents work full time, and working overtime is often required when working with large shipments. Overtime can include working on nights, early mornings, weekends, and holidays.
How to Become a Freight Agent
Though it’s not always necessary to have one, most employers prefer to hire candidates with a high school diploma or GED.
Normally, freight agents start their careers by performing basic tasks like organizing stockrooms and weighing packages. As they learn more about how shipments are processed, they assume responsibility for more complicated tasks.
If you’re still in high school and you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a freight agent, taking some computer classes that teach Microsoft Office or a similar product can be very beneficial.
Freight agents rely on spreadsheets and databases to do their jobs well, so familiarity with software can help reduce the amount of training required.
There are currently 85,900 freight agents in the United States, with 4,030 new freight agent job openings created each year.
Freight Agent jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Freight Agent Salaries
Freight Agent salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most freight agents make between $28,100 – $47,700 per year, or $13.53 – $22.94 per hour.