Career Profile: Cargo and Freight Agents
Moving anything from one place to another can be complicated. It involves knowing how to get from one place to another, being able to move the materials safely, and making sure that they get to where they need to go. Cargo and freight agents can help.
Suppose that you wanted to give a birthday present to a friend who lives in the same city or town as you do. You could arrange to get together so that you could deliver the present in person. If your friend lived in a different city, you would probably need to go to the post office to send the present by mail.
Cargo and freight agents are like postal workers, but for large shipments. Instead of just small packages like birthday presents, they might help deliver furniture, large shipments of food, or anything else that people want to send. They work for companies and individual people who have large amounts of goods that they want to move from one place to another.
Much of the work of a cargo and freight agent is with customers, helping them decide on the best way to move their goods. They might choose to send very heavy or bulky objects by train or ship, for example, while they could choose to send lighter objects by air. Cargo and freight agents can also help with deciding the best way to pack the things that customers want to send. Breakable objects would need special care while a shipment of pillows, for example, would need little protection.
Becoming a cargo and freight agent requires little formal education other than a high school diploma, but people in this field have to know a lot about the different methods of shipping goods. They should know about weights and different kinds of packaging, and what the dangers to the cargo might be, such as weather damage or the possibility that the goods might be crushed by heavier objects. People can learn a lot of what they need to know on the job, but being good with mathematics will help cargo and freight agents with the calculations that they need to do.
In Canada, only Ontario and Quebec currently require any official registration to be a cargo and freight agent, although individual employers might ask for specific qualifications. For example, they might need their employees to be bilingual in French and English. An organization like the Canadian International Freight Forwarding Association can help people upgrade their skills.
Much of what cargo and freight agents do is in offices, where they need to be good with paperwork and dealing with customers. Sometimes, however, they might need to help pack or unpack containers and lift heavy objects where a certain amount of physical strength is helpful.
Cargo and freight agents can earn anywhere between about $29,000 and almost $52,000. Jobs might be available in shipping companies, post offices, and even factories. If you like to make plans and organize, the job of cargo and freight agent might be right for you.
CIFFA. “CIFFA Education.” https://www.ciffa.com/education/.
Hearn, Gordon. “Doing Business as a Freight Broker in Canada.” https://www.tianet.org/TIAnetOrg/docs/Frameworks/CanadianFreightFramework.pdf.
Indeed.com. “Freight Operations Agent.” https://ca.indeed.com/m/viewjob?jk=823d8d7b7dcc4cc3&advn=9904401638271178&from=serp&dest=https%3A%2F%2Femployers.indeed.com%2Fj%2Fview-job%3Fid%3Db69f03ea30ad62cb172e&desth=ca91f31883caa3a40c2e4244dfe1d12a&prevUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fca.indeed.com%2Fm%2Fjobs%3Fq%3DFreight%2BAgent&tk=1cnasqfgbad5i92c&dupclk=1&acatk=1cnasqo0ia45hc9i&pub=6917c08ec3ecf6012dd26f3773156e870cace3277f6b99df.
Payscale.com. “Cargo and Freight Agent.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Cargo_and_Freight_Agent/Salary.
Peter Suess. “FreightForwarder/Load Broker.” https://www.pstc.ca/services/operating-authority-permits-and-licensing-usa-canada/freight-fowarder-load-broker/.