Freight forwarders arrange the movement of goods across the world for importers and exporters. They use computer systems to decide on which combination of air, rail, road and sea transport provides the most suitable and cost-effective method.
You could be:
negotiating rates and booking spaces for goods on trains, ships and planes
planning the most suitable mode of transport and route, taking into account deadlines and type of goods
arranging the packing and storage of goods before transportation
confirming shipping arrangements and details with carriers and clients
dealing with customs to clear goods to be transported
working out import and export duties
arranging payment for freight services and other charges
preparing quotes, invoices and all necessary licences and paperwork
working out the details of transport and insurance costs
perhaps specialising in one type of business, such as importing perishable goods like fruit.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay for is around £18,000 to £25,000 a year, rising to around £28,000 to £30,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to around £45,000 a year at a senior level.
There may also be benefits such as bonuses or a company car.
You would work for a local, national or international logistics firm, a major retail company, a manufacturing firm or a warehousing and distribution company.
You would be based at a computer in an office most of the time.
The offices are usually based in industrial areas or close to airports, sea ports, rail terminals or major road networks.
You would generally work normal business hours.
You may have to work outside normal hours or do shift work when required.
You may have to leave the office on occasions to visit customers and contractors, which may sometimes involve overseas travel.
The work involves negotiating with people and meeting tight deadlines so you will be under pressure at times.
You could join a relevant firm in an administrative post and then train to be a freight forwarder.
There may be the opportunity available to complete a Modern Apprenticeship in Freight Logistics.
Many trainees enter with an HNC (SCQF Level 7), HND (SCQF Level 8) or degree (SCQF Level 9). Courses that include business or international business can be relevant, but there are also specialist courses available in subjects such as international trade, logistics, transport and distribution.
Entry requirements for HNCs and HNDs are 1-3 Highers plus subjects at National 5. Degree courses require 4-5 Highers plus subjects at National 5 including English.
City of Glasgow College offers an HND in Managing Supply Chain Operations. Entry requirements are 2 Highers including English or an English based subject.
It can be helpful to have knowledge of at least one foreign language.