With the rise in e-commerce and the growth in overseas markets, now is a great time to consider a job in the fast paced world of freight forwarding. Expect to adapt to changing trends, new levels of automation, and exciting new developments in transport and warehousing. Freight forwarding offers a modern and challenging career path that promises logistics professionals an exciting future.
The different roles in freight forwarding
With so many sectors of the industry, there’s numerous roles to choose from. Freight forwarding includes a range of services, such as international and UK mail and parcel services, European pallet services, air and sea specific businesses, and specific roles in supply chain and logistics. There’s also sales, human resources, and various management positions available. Freight forwarding offers everything from a trainee/junior role, up to high level account management jobs.
Starting roles often offer training on the job, but require certain basics from any applicant. A junior Freight Operator at Heathrow will need to already have the technical knowledge of suitable logistics computer systems. They’ll be responsible for the accuracy of any information that’s inputted into the system, and so a good eye for detail and for spotting mistakes is a must.
The same goes for a Trainee Account Manager, who will be expected to already have experience with the necessary programmes. This is a junior role and applicants will often be looking to progress to managerial levels in the future. For now they’ll assist the current freight forwarders organise transportation, often across Europe. They’ll need to be in regular contact with freight companies, be able to monitor orders and deliveries and take the initiative to source suitable carriers. A great telephone manner is essential as building strong relationships with customers and suppliers is an important part of the business. A second language is also a bonus for any company that spans Europe.
An ocean import or export coordinator will have similar responsibilities, but will focus on sea shipping, so a knowledge and passion of that aspect of the industry is necessary. They’ll need to have a scope of the whole supply chain as they’ll handle jobs from the point of origin or manufacture, right up to the customer. A key part of the job is in managing customs clearance. Time is money for many logistics companies, so speeding up clearance is crucial. The pressure’s on to keep documentation correct and on time. An importer/exporter will also negotiate rates, manage big-name clients and liaise with overseas offices.
Those with a lot of industry experience and keen business mind might look at managerial roles such as Distribution Services Manager. They’ll be responsible for finding new opportunities, and will often work alongside the sales department. They’ll need to have the initiative to implement procedures and take on training schemes. This fast-paced role requires great customer service and an understanding of current trends, and promises an exciting opportunity for career progression.
The growth in freight forwarding is set to continue, and it’s likely more opportunities will arise, as well as new roles. Logistics professionals enjoy the chance to work for some of the world’s biggest companies, and those looking to work abroad will be well-suited to the industry. Customer service and knowledge of the industry are basics, but the real quality employers are looking for is a passion for the growing world of shipping.