In Summary - Freight Forwarder / Clerk
The Work - Freight Forwarder / Clerk
Freight clerks arrange the movement of cargo in or out of the country. They have to ensure that this is done as quickly, efficiently and economically as possible. Freight Clerks are agents for carriers of all kinds - moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. They will assess transportation problems and make recommendations concerning the best method of shipment and packaging.
A freight clerk's duties are likely to include selecting routes and carriers, booking cargo space, dealing with rates and schedules, making calculations using computers, and preparing invoices and quotations.
Importing and exporting goods creates a lot of paper work, which the freight clerk has to deal with. For instance, when working on behalf of an importer, they have to clear goods through Customs and organise the payment of duties and taxes. They then arrange for the goods to be delivered to the importer's premises.
The majority of the freight clerk's time is spent communicating with other people. They spend a lot of time on the telephone, sending faxes and emails, writing letters and collecting and filing information.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Examine shipment contents and compare with records such as manifests, invoices, or orders to verify accuracy.
- Record shipment data, such as weight, charges, space availability, damages, or discrepancies for reporting, accounting, or recordkeeping purposes.
- Prepare documents, such as work orders, bills of lading, or shipping orders, to route materials.
- Confer or correspond with establishment representatives to rectify problems, such as damages, shortages, or nonconformance to specifications.
- Pack, seal, label, or affix postage to prepare materials for shipping, using hand tools, power tools, or postage meter.
- Contact carrier representatives to make arrangements or to issue instructions for shipping and delivery of materials.
- Deliver or route materials to departments using handtruck, conveyor, or sorting bins.
- Requisition and store shipping materials and supplies to maintain inventory of stock.
- Determine shipping methods, routes, or rates for materials to be shipped.
- Compute amounts, such as space available, shipping, storage, or demurrage charges, using computer or price list.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interests - Freight Forwarder / Clerk
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
As so much business is conducted over the telephone, you must have a clear speaking voice. You must be able to explain complex issues to clients in a clear and simple way. In many instances, the people you speak to will not speak English as a first language, working use of a second language will be an asset. You need to have good communication and customer service skills. Good up-to-date computer skills are essential.
You will also need common sense and patience, and must be able to pay strict attention to detail.
Entry Requirements - Freight Forwarder / Clerk
Pay & Salary - Freight Forwarder / Clerk
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 25k - 45k
Brightwater / Morgan McKinley / Sigmar
Last Updated: July, 2015
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Freight Forwarder / Clerk
While no shortage has been identified, in the event of Brexit, there will be an increased demand for those with the skills to ensure compliance in the areas of customs duties, controls, and tariffs (which the new Logistics Associate apprenticeship is designed to address).
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Freight Forwarder / Clerk
Irish Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Ireland
International Federation of Freight Forwarders (FIATA)
International Air Transport Association (IATA)