A cargo and freight agent plays a significant role in the overall logistics of a shipping company. In this role, the freight agent is responsible for coordinating outgoing and incoming shipments for businesses and international shipping companies. These agents supervise and monitor the shipments of goods using railroad shipping, ships, trucks, and airplanes. Internationally, the agents make sure that all duties and fees have been paid and that the paperwork for the shipment is timely and in order.
In general terms, the cargo and freight agent controls the movement of cargo from the beginning to the end of its journey. The job demands more than just good organizational skills and requires a thorough knowledge of all phases of the shipping industry as well as the ability to communicate and network with all of the different professionals involved in the process. The ability to pick up the phone or jump on the computer to make sure a shipment is in the right location or has reached its destination is a critical assignment. Both buyers and sellers depend on this immediate feedback as to the status of their investment.
What Are the Duties?
Eight duties can be attributed to the job a cargo and freight agent performs for a shipping company or a freight-forwarding company. The agent uses all the resources at his disposal to complete the task of moving cargo.
- The first task that the agent has is to define the routes the cargo will travel from the pick-up point to the final destination. Determining which modes of transportation to use, whether to plan for temporary storage and who will be responsible for loading and unloading the shipment.
- The agent works with the seller and the buyer to negotiate and establish the fees for shipping, who is paying the insurance, and how the pricing affects the various modes of transportation used in the shipment.
- Once the transportation plan is set the agent then must begin to coordinate the phases of the plan to ensure the timely and efficient implementation and follow-through. At this stage, the agent’s communication and networking skills play a large part in making sure all the pieces are in place.
- There are always fees, postage rates, and extra charges that may be connected to any given shipment. The agent has to have a broad awareness of the regular and traditional fees and also be able to draw upon his expertise to anticipate any unusual fees or taxes that are unique to the shipment. This fourth duty on the list is often downplayed, but a lot of money can be lost when this task is not done well.
- The cargo and freight agent must keep both the buyer and seller informed of the progress of the shipment once it has left the warehouse. The customers will want to know when the shipment left, whether the goods were packed correctly and whether they were all in the shipment, and what is the expected arrival.
- Preparing shipping documents, bills of laden, and invoices all fall into the job description for the cargo and freight agent. Accuracy and record-keeping must be maintained at a very high level to ensure a successful shipping experience for both the buyer and the shipper. Of all the duties this one is of the utmost importance.
- The agent must keep accurate records of the shipment, including weight, the number of containers, time of shipment and the exact delivery and transfer of the shipment if necessary.
- The gent must be able to track any lost or misdirected shipments and to report on their whereabouts as soon as possible. Containers have been known to fall overboard, and other shipments disappear. Good record-keeping and accuracy help resolve these problems.
The International Shipping Company at Asiana USA employs well-qualified and highly experienced cargo freight agents who are ready to serve your shipping needs. Contact us at 855-500-1808 for a free estimate.