Detailed Guide forCargo and Freight Agents in San Diego County
May also be called: Cargo Agents; Cargo Routers; Dispatchers; Documentation Clerks; Freight Brokers; Freight Forwarders; Freight Shipping Agents; Logistics Coordinators; and Shipping Agents
What Would I Do?
Cargo and Freight Agents arrange for and track incoming and outgoing shipments in airline, train, or trucking terminals or on shipping docks. They expedite shipments by determining the route that shipments will take and by preparing all necessary documents. Agents take orders from customers and arrange for the pickup of cargo or freight and its delivery to loading platforms. Cargo and Freight Agents may keep records of the cargo, including its amount, type, weight, dimensions, destination, and time of shipment. They keep a tally of missing items and record the condition of damaged items.
Cargo and Freight Agents arrange cargo shipments according to their destinations. They also determine any shipping rates and other charges that usually apply to freight. For imported or exported freight, they verify that the proper customs paperwork is in order. Cargo and Freight Agents often track shipments electronically, using bar codes, and answer customers’ questions about the status of their shipments.
Tools and Technology
Cargo and Freight Agents use a large variety of tools including two way radios, crow bars, fax machines, mobile air-conditioning units, staple guns, and wrapping machinery. They may also use database, e-mail, inventory management, brokerage, spreadsheet, and word processing software.
Important Tasks and Related Skills
Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.
|View the skill definitions|
|Task||Skill Used in this Task|
|Negotiate and arrange transport of goods with shipping or freight companies.||Negotiation|
|Notify consignees, passengers, or customers of the arrival of freight or baggage, and arrange for delivery.||Customer and Personal Service|
|Advise clients on transportation and payment methods.||Speaking|
|Determine method of shipment and prepare bills of lading, invoices, and other shipping documents.||Critical Thinking|
|Check import/export documentation to determine cargo contents, and classify goods into different fee or tariff groups, using a tariff coding system.||Inductive Reasoning|
|Enter shipping information into a computer by hand or by a hand-held scanner that reads bar codes on goods.||Monitoring|
|Pack goods for shipping, using tools such as staplers, strapping machines, and hammers.||Transportation|
|Direct delivery trucks to shipping doors or designated marshaling areas and help load and unload goods safely.||Selective Attention|
|Inspect and count items received and check them against invoices or other documents, recording shortages and rejecting damaged goods.||Problem Sensitivity|
|Keep records of all goods shipped, received, and stored.||Coordination|
|Coordinate and supervise activities of workers engaged in packing and shipping merchandise.||Time Management|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Negotiation||Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.|
|Customer and Personal Service||Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.|
|Speaking||Talking to others to convey information effectively.|
|Critical Thinking||Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.|
|Inductive Reasoning||The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).|
|Monitoring||Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.|
|Transportation||Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.|
|Selective Attention||The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.|
|Problem Sensitivity||The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.|
|Coordination||Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.|
|Time Management||Managing one's own time and the time of others.|
Cargo and Freight Agents work in a wide variety of businesses, institutions, and industries. Some work in warehouses and stockrooms as well as shipping and receiving, cold storage, and loading areas where they may be exposed to extreme temperatures and various weather conditions.
Most jobs for Cargo and Freight Agents involve frequent and prolonged standing, bending, walking, and stretching. Some lifting and carrying of small items may be involved. Although automated devices have lessened the physical demands of this occupation, not every employer has these devices. The typical workweek is Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week, with evening and weekend hours possible during periods with increased shipments.
Some Cargo and Freight Agents are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Will This Job Fit Me?
The job of Cargo and Freight Agent may appeal to those who prefer to follow set procedures and routines. Those who like to work on projects that involve data and details more than abstract ideas, or who like to make many decisions and deal with various business aspects, might like this type of work.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2016 for Cargo and Freight Agents in California is $43,666 annually, or $20.99 hourly. The median wage for Cargo and Freight Agents in San Diego County is $41,661 annually, or $20.03 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Benefits vary by employer, but Cargo and Freight Agents typically receive medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans.
What is the Job Outlook?
Employment opportunities should increase for Cargo and Freight Agents at a greater than average rate due to increases in cargo traffic. Additional demand will stem from the growing popularity of online shopping and same-day delivery. Job opportunities are also subject to change due to fluctuations in the economy and further automation of the delivery process.
Projections of Employment
In California, the number of Cargo and Freight Agents is expected to grow faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Cargo and Freight Agents are expected to increase by 17.8 percent, or 1,800 jobs between 2012 and 2022.
In San Diego County, the number of Cargo and Freight Agents is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Cargo and Freight Agents are expected to increase by 13.2 percent, or 70 jobs between 2012 and 2022.
|Estimated Employment and Projected Growth|
Cargo and Freight Agents
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|San Diego County|
|View Projected Growth for All Areas|
Annual Job Openings
In California, an average of 180 new job openings per year is expected for Cargo and Freight Agents, plus an additional 270 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 460 job openings.
In San Diego County, an average of 6 new job openings per year is expected for Cargo and Freight Agents, plus an additional 14 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 20 job openings.
|Estimated Average Annual Job Openings|
Cargo and Freight Agents
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|San Diego County|
|View Data for All Areas|
How Do I Qualify?
Education, Training, and Other Requirements
Many Cargo and Freight Agent jobs are entry level and require only a high school diploma or equivalent. However, many employers prefer Agents with college degrees or a certificate in logistics materials, and supply chain management. Cargo and Freight Agents undergo informal on-the-job training. They start out by checking items to be shipped, attaching labels to them, and making sure that addresses are correct. As trainees gain experience, they gradually take on more responsibility such as tracking shipments en route and notifying clients of cargo pick-up or delivery.
Many employers prefer Agents who have related work experience.
Since the tasks are becoming more automated, Agents may soon need longer periods of training to master the use of the equipment. Therefore, employers prefer to hire people who can use computers. Typing, filing, recordkeeping, and other clerical skills also are important.
Drug tests and background checks are also required for many Cargo and Freight Agent positions.
Early Career Planning
High school students interested in becoming Cargo and Freight Agents should take courses in English, business, mathematics, economics, foreign language, and computers.
The California Department of Insurance requires Agents, who procure cargo insurance for goods they arrange for shipment, to have a Cargo Shippers Agent license. It must be renewed every two years and there is no exam required. The minimum age required to get the license is 18 years old. Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information.Click on the license title below for details.
Where Can I Find Training?
There are two ways to search for training information:
Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.
Where Would I Work?
The largest industries employing Cargo and Freight Agents are as follows:
|Industry Title||Percent of Total Employment for Occupation in California|
|Freight Transportation Arrangement ||61.5%|
|Couriers and Messengers ||5.8%|
|Scheduled Air Transportation ||4.0%|
|Management & Technical Consulting Svc ||2.9%|
|General Freight Trucking ||2.6%|
Finding a Job
Direct application to employers remains an effective job search method for Cargo and Freight Agents. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through networking and placement offices at colleges and universities. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).
Yellow Page Headings
You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Cargo and Freight Agents.
Find Possible Employers
To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:
- Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
- Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
- Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
- Contact the employer for possible employment.
Where Could This Job Lead?
Advancement opportunities for Cargo and Freight Agents are usually limited, but some Agents may become team leaders or use their hands-on experience to switch to other occupations in the businesses where they work. They may also become a broker and operate their own shipping and brokerage firm.
Below is a list of occupations related to Cargo and Freight Agents with links to more information.
|Couriers and Messengers||Profile|
|Postal Service Mail Carriers||Profile|
|Weighers, Measurers, Checkers, and Samplers, Recordkeeping||Profile|
These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.
For the Career Professional
The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.