So, you’re thinking about a career in freight and forwarding- congratulations! A career in freight and forwarding can be extremely rewarding because international trade is a tremendously huge and profitable industry. Don’t get us wrong here; a career in freight forwarding is not all peaches, unicorns, and rainbows.
Freight forwarding consists of a highly complex process that ensures that the movement of goods from point to point is seamless so that the cargo can get to the owner undamaged and on time. The essence of the entire freight forwarding process is to make certain that the cargo is picked up from the seller and delivered to the customer at the right time, place and in the expected condition. Sounds easy enough right?
Companies such as e-commerce stores and individual buyers are dependent on freight forwarding companies such as Sidoman especially if they are involved in multinational or international export or import. While a freight forwarder does not actually move the cargo itself, the freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between the customer and the transportation services involved whether air, road or sea freight.
Why do companies need a freight forwarder?
Companies need freight forwarding companies to deal with their imports and exports because large shipping companies only deal with large shippers such as Amazon. Therefore, for small and medium business who for example specialize in selling clothes in the CBD to survive in business, they rely on freight forwarding companies to negotiate the importing and exporting of the shipping containers or the different modes of transportation that are used in the process. Freight forwarding companies also help individuals to get the best freight forwarding rates.
What positions/ job titles does a career in freight and forwarding promise?
There are many different possible positions that can be held by individuals in the freight and forwarding industry. Some of the positions and job vacancies in freight forwarding include:
- Customs Broker.
- Customs clerk.
- Export officer or export coordinator.
- Freight forwarding manager.
- Documentations or freight operations clerk.
- Freight Scheduler.
- Import officer.
- Logistics Manager.
- Shipping agents.
- Supply chain manager, and many more job titles within the industry.
The responsibilities of a freight forwarder include but are not limited to:
- Arranging for the bills of lading and all associated shipping documentation on behalf of the client.
- Issuing customers with approved House bill of Lading.
- Arranging or forwarding the client’s cargo as per the needs and instructions of the client.
- Storing cargo belonging to customers in a warehouse. All respectful and reliable freight forwarding companies like Sidoman offer warehousing services.
- Booking and handling cargo.
- Negotiating freight pricing on behalf of the client.
- Experience in all freight transportation modes including air, sea, and road.
Complications often occur during the process of freight forwarding. As such, the freight forwarding services that you as the agent offer is a client’s line of defense when complications arise. A qualified freight forwarder has the capacity to help with a shipment that is a thousand miles away because they have the know-how and the experience needed to do so successfully.
In this light, a career in freight and forwarding is no joke; you have to have the grit and the social skills to deal with challenging components in the supply chain.
How to have a successful career in Freight and Forwarding
The world is now a global village, and with the preponderance of the internet use and the rise of e-commerce stores, a career in freight forwarding has never seemed more lucrative. As technological access becomes more prevalent, the opportunities for freight forwarders will continue to increase principally for those people that have the right approach. Here is how to become a successful freight forwarder:
Keep up with technological changes
To become the best freight forwarder, it is important to embrace and keep up with technological changes as they occur. Technological advancements such as freight forwarding management software as well as customer relationship management software can help you to be more efficient and therefore more productive as a logistics expert.
Networking has never been more important than it is in today’s contemporary job environment. Networking and connecting with peers in the freight forwarding industry allows you to expand your interests and career goals. The easiest way to expand your network is to build the relationships that you already have with your colleagues, then you can work on expanding your professional circle from these relationships.
Having the right information at your fingertips is not only your duty but it is your responsibility as an individual in the freight forwarding industry. Having the right know-how allows you to understand what is required of a freight forwarder so that you can provide the best service possible. A knowledgeable freight forwarder has the capacity to identify the needs of a customer and handle them adequately to the client’s satisfaction.
Call your clients regularly
The best freight forwarders call their clients on a regular basis so that a candid and constructive dialogue can occur between client and freight forwarder. Your role as a freight forwarder is to understand the needs of your customers including upcoming shipments, future projects and any problems that the client might anticipate in the future. Your job is to collaborate with your client so that your customer’s business can grow and so that you as the professional can consolidate your role as the only freight forwarder worth calling.
Go above and beyond for your client
As a freight forwarder, you should be willing to go above and beyond for your client and not just settle for a mediocre level of service. What sets a good freight forwarder from the best freight forwarder is the willingness to add value to the supply chain. This means going the extra mile to analyze the client’s shipping patterns and come up with a suggestion on the best way to handle future volumes. Alternatively, you can offer a helping hand in the face of challenges should your client need it. Your duty as a qualified freight forwarding agent is to anticipate the ever-changing needs of your client and provide solutions that align with their strategic goals.
So? Still interested in a career in freight forwarding? Share with us your doubts, challenges, and thoughts here.