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Cargo and freight agents coordinate and facilitate incoming and outgoing shipments for transportation companies and other businesses.
Cargo and freight agents typically do the following:
- Determine shipping methods and routes from pick-up location to final destination
- Advise clients on transportation and payment options
- Coordinate transportation and logistics details with shipping and freight companies
- Estimate, negotiate, and determine postal rates, shipment costs, and other charges
- Notify clients of cargo shipments, status en route, and time of delivery
- Prepare bills of lading, invoices, and other required shipping documents
- Record information such as cargo amount, weight, dimensions, and time of shipment
- Trace lost shipments as necessary
Cargo and freight agents facilitate shipments of goods through airline, train, and trucking terminals and shipping docks. Agents ensure that shipments are picked up and delivered on time, paperwork is completed, and fees are collected. For international shipments, agents prepare and verify customs and tariff forms.
Agents typically manage shipments for multiple clients at once. They often arrange their clients’ cargo and freight by destination, and send out many clients’ shipments simultaneously.
Most cargo and freight agents store and use records on computers. They use bar codes and the Internet to track shipments and use spreadsheets to manage inventories.
Although cargo and freight agents sometimes pack items for shipping and take them to a loading dock or station, that is not their primary role. For more information on workers who specialize in that type of delivery work, see the profile on couriers and messengers.