Freight forwarders arrange the movement of goods across the world for importers and exporters. They 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
- 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 trainees is around £13,000 to £18,000 a year, rising to around £25,000 to £29,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to around £45,000 a year.
- 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 you will be under pressure at times.
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- There is no single entry route to this work.
- 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 a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or degree. 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.
- It can be helpful to have knowledge of at least one foreign language.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- good at planning and problem solving
- able to estimate and handle complex information
- able to prioritise workloads and meet deadlines
- able to work accurately and pay attention to detail
- able to work well under pressure.
You need to have:
- good time management skills
- good negotiation skills
- excellent communication skills
- good numerical and IT skills
- good industry knowledge.
- You would normally train on the job with part time study for relevant qualifications.
- A variety of qualifications is offered by the British International Freight Association (BIFA), The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) (CILT (UK)) and The Institute of Export.
- Study may be by part time attendance at college, evening classes or distance learning.
- You may be able to work towards Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) at SCQF Levels 5 and 6.
- With experience and training, you may be able to gain promotion into supervisory or managerial posts.
- It is also possible to specialise in dealing with particular products or with specific countries or regions.
- In some cases, you may get the opportunity to work in an overseas location.
- Another option is to move into other sales or marketing roles or into more general management.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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