What do Cargo and Freight Agents do?

Expedite and route movement of incoming and outgoing cargo and freight shipments in airline, train, and trucking terminals, and shipping docks. Take orders from customers and arrange pickup of freight and cargo for delivery to loading platform. Prepare and examine bills of lading to determine shipping charges and tariffs.

  • Advise clients on transportation and payment methods.
  • Track delivery progress of shipments.
  • Notify consignees, passengers, or customers of freight or baggage arrival and arrange for delivery.
  • Determine method of shipment and prepare bills of lading, invoices, and other shipping documents.
  • Estimate freight or postal rates and record shipment costs and weights.
  • Keep records of all goods shipped, received, and stored.
  • Enter shipping information into a computer by hand or by a hand-held scanner that reads bar codes on goods.
  • Check import or export documentation to determine cargo contents and use tariff coding system to classify goods according to fee or tariff group.
  • Prepare manifests showing numbers of airplane passengers and baggage, mail, and freight weights, transmitting data to destinations.
  • Negotiate and arrange transport of goods with shipping or freight companies.
  • Install straps, braces, and padding to loads to prevent shifting or damage during shipment.
  • Assemble containers and crates used to transport items such as machines or vehicles.
  • Arrange insurance coverage for goods.
  • Direct or participate in cargo loading to ensure completeness of load and even distribution of weight.
  • Coordinate and supervise activities of workers engaged in packing and shipping merchandise.
  • Route received goods to first available flight or to appropriate storage areas or departments, using forklifts, hand trucks, or other equipment.
  • Direct delivery trucks to shipping doors or designated marshaling areas and help load and unload goods safely.
  • Open cargo containers and unwrap contents, using steel cutters, crowbars, or other hand tools.
  • Contact vendors or claims adjustment departments to resolve shipment problems or contact service depots to arrange for repairs.
  • Retrieve stored items and trace lost shipments as necessary.
  • Attach address labels, identification codes, and shipping instructions to containers.
  • Inspect and count items received and check them against invoices or other documents, recording shortages and rejecting damaged goods.
  • Maintain a supply of packing materials.
  • Pack goods for shipping, using tools such as staplers, strapping machines, and hammers.

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