Shipping logistics is about the management and oversight of freight/cargo by sea. While jobs in this segment can get as basic as loading and unloading cargo, the other end of the spectrum involves operations and logistics management. This article provides a summary of a few careers in shipping logistics.
- Shipping clerks: Responsible for keeping track of all outward cargo/freight movements and maintenance of detailed records, such as bills of lading, labels, shipping details, etc. A high school diploma is a basic requirement and experience in using computers and database management comes in handy. Based on the size and operations of the company, a shipping clerk can also be responsible for the actual movement of goods from the warehouse to the dock.
- Receiving clerks: Handle inward cargo/freight movement, similar to shipping clerks, check cargo received against the delivery manifest, highlight discrepancies or damage caused en route and handle arrangements for sending the cargo to its final destination/recipient. Qualifications and skills required are the same as for shipping clerks.
- Cargo/freight agents: Prepare and track cargo/freight movements across the world, prepare documentation, plan routes and ensure customs and excise rules are complied with.
- Shipping and receiving managers: Handle cargo/freight traffic, keeping track of shipments, preparing cargo/freight for transportation, maintain records and shipping manifests.
- Transport managers: Work for the shipping company directly, coordinating transport of cargo/freight to different destinations, manage entry and docking at multiple ports, etc. Alternatively, can be employed by logistics companies which act as coordinators between transport companies (shipping, airline, trucking, etc) and end-to-end customers, i.e. those who send and receive cargo/freight.
- Operations/logistics managers: Head the transport/logistics department, ensure smooth running of operations, implement new policies and procedures, etc.
The above jobs are primarily concerned with the logistical end of the business; there are other roles which are mainly concerned with the actual shipping activity, such as the ship crew, engineers, etc, which do not have much of a role to play in the logistics process. There are no separate educational or training programs earmarked for careers in shipping logistics, most of the training is on-the-job; but it is helpful to have skills in handling reporting/records management, automated systems to scan, pack and move cargo, laws, rules and regulations pertaining to customs, excise and transport across multiple jurisdictions. More information about careers in shipping logistics is available online; check out job portals such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder, etc to get a fair idea about the opportunities available and expected compensation levels and the latest market outlook.