A freight agent, or cargo agent, is a person who facilitates and coordinates shipments of incoming and outgoing goods through trucking, train, and airline terminals as well as shipping docks. Their main responsibility is ensuring that goods for shipment are picked up and delivered in a timely manner, completing all the necessary paperwork, and all fees are collected. A freight agent often prepares and verifies the tariff and customs forms of international shipments, too.
Responsibilities of a Freight Agent
A freight agent is a multi-task person, as they have to manage shipments for different clients at the same time. They have to arrange cargo shipments and freight destination of several clients simultaneously. Doing multiple shipments at the same time can be made more efficient through the use of computerized records for freight management and bar codes for tracking shipments. Some of the other responsibilities of a freight agent may include the following:
- Determine the best method and route of shipping from a pick-up location to its final destination
- Inform clients on the best transportation method and options for payment
- Coordinate with freight companies details on transportation and logistics
- Notify clients of the status of shipment and expected time of delivery
- Prepare invoices, bills of lading, and other shipping documents, both local and international
- Keep a record of pertinent data about the cargo being shipped
- Trace any lost shipment as they occur
Requirements of a Freight Agent
A freight agent position has few requirements in terms of educational attainment and work experience. A high school diploma is the typical educational requirement for the position. The duties of a freight agent are typically learned on the job site. New agents, especially those with no related work experience, start on a related but lower position jobs, such as checker of labels. The entry position for a freight agent with no experience is that of an agent trainee. The position basically is a training position to acquire both experience and job knowledge.
A lot of the functions of a freight agent are computer related. While computer proficiency is not exactly a strict requirement, basic knowledge of computer operations will give a person better opportunities.