My work at polkadotfrog focuses on recruiting for organisations in shipping and transport, and with two decades’ industry experience behind me, I can say with complete confidence that freight forwarding is a great career option.
Although it’s tricky to move into the sector from another industry, if you’re a student or school leaver looking to begin your career, freight forwarding offers work that’s fast paced, varied, challenging at times, and exciting.
Currently, the UK’s freight forwarding industry employs 140,000 people. You could be one of them, and find yourself travelling abroad, communicating with people from a diversity of countries and cultures, and using the latest satellite technology to monitor global transport.
What does freight forwarding involve?
A freight forwarder manages the transportation of cargo by ship, air, rail and road on behalf of individuals or businesses. They work closely with shipping companies such as Maersk, air freight carriers, road haulage companies, and rail freight companies (Deutsche Bahn is the largest in the UK).
Freight forwarders handle the process from ‘cradle to grave’; from the point of production all the way through to its delivery at the distribution point, point of sale, or to the individual who bought the cargo.
Not only that, but they may also deal with the packaging prior to transportation, and special arrangements for highly valuable or hazardous goods.
It’s very possible that you can be part of freight forwarding’s digitisation, as many companies in a somewhat traditional industry are bringing in new technology.
Why is the job so important?
Freight forwarders are part of the enormous system that supports the global economy, enabling trade between numerous countries. They’re also seeing first-hand how many developing countries are now having a bigger impact on international trade.
Also, with 90% of the world’s goods transported by ship – iPhones, TVs, sofas, clothing and cars for instance – freight forwarders help bring these goods to our shores.
What skills and qualities does a freight forwarder need?
If you possess the below skills and personal attributes, or at the very least, you’re willing to develop them once employed, you’re in with a strong position.
- Team player
- An eye for detail
- Strong organisational skills
- High levels of numeracy
- Excellent standard of written and verbal communication
- Negotiation skills
- Ability to juggle deadlines
- Ambition and drive
- Proactive and positive attitude
- Ability to develop strong relationships with customers, colleagues and suppliers
- Able to keep a cool head under pressure
Furthermore, if you speak a second language this will certainly bolster your value as a professional.
What career prospects would I have?
If you’re willing to focus on developing your skills throughout your career, there is a broad range of opportunities waiting for you, either further up the ladder or in a specialist field, such as transportation of heavy machinery or foods.
As gender equality is such an important issue, it’s great that freight forwarding tends to have a balanced gender split. However, more women are needed at senior level, so if you’re an ambitious female job seeker freight forwarding could be the perfect fit.
How much could I earn in the East of England?
Freight forwarding salaries here in the East of England are competitive: when starting out, professionals can expect to earn between £20,000 and £30,000, with senior roles offering upwards of £35,000 per year.
Depending on developments in this progressive industry, it’s possible that new jobs could be created, offering additional appealing opportunities.
What are the predictions for the future of freight forwarding?
The world economy relies on trade between countries so it’s safe to say the future for this sector is looking positive.
In fact, global demand for freight is set to triple over the next 30 years as developing countries increase their capacity for freight transport. With the current rise in artificial intelligence, robotics, digital communications and ‘green’ transport, a freight forwarding career is likely to offer some very exciting prospects.
If you’d like to be part of this remarkable worldwide industry, we can help. As an expert in the sector, I can provide even more information. Call me on 01473 213 136 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.