Freight Forwarder

Freight Forwarder Jobs – Young Jobseeker Info

Freight Forwarder jobs… did you know?

News just in… a priceless artwork has to move safely between international museums without getting lost, scratched or stolen. Who you gonna call? Freight forwarders!

A freight forwarder, or sometimes known as a ‘forwarder’ or ‘forwarding agent’, is the person who organises the safe transportation of goods or exports. This could mean using all sorts of transport including airlines, cars, ships and trains. You’ll plan the entire journey using IT systems that give you control at the touch of a button.

If you’re organised, have good IT skills and love the idea of planning journeys that don’t take 80 days around the world, this could be right up your street…

Fun fact: Freight forwarding jobs date all the way back to 1836.

Perks of the job: This is definitely one of those jobs where you could get to travel abroad on the company’s credit card. Start brushing up on your languages!

Industry: Transport and Logistics

Freight Forwarder job trends

How much money can you make as an Freight Forwarder?

£16,000 – £40,000 (UK average)

The starting salary according to the UK Labour market can be around £16,000, developing to £25,000 with experience. It then steadily progresses to £30,000. 

This figure can go up to £45,000 when you reach senior management. Some freight forwarder employers will offer bonus schemes, pension schemes and even a company car.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

When you’ve decided that being a freight forwarder is the path for you, you might find that not all companies and employers need you to have a degree. They might find it even more appealing if you have practical experience within a similar industry. However, getting a degree might help you enter at a higher level or join one of the graduate training schemes offered by some of the larger employers.

Straight from to school

If you want to begin your freight forwarding training straight after school, you’ll find that many employers would love to see at least four GCSEs or the equivalent – including English and maths – on your CV (grades 9-4 / A* – C).
Some companies may also want you to have A-levels or H grades, too – but often won’t require you to have a degree.

DID YOU KNOW? In some parts of the UK you can also do a BTEC National Awards in Logistics, so GCSEs and A-levels are not your only way in!

Higher National Diplomas

Taking a Higher National Diploma (HND) in any of the above subjects could also be a very sensible option. As well as the specialised HNDs in the transport and logistics sector on offer, you can just as easily explore broader subjects like business studies if they include relevant modules.

Taking the university route?

If you decide to go to university to pursue your freight forwarding career, this may allow you to enter at a more senior level. Relevant degree subjects include:

  • accounting/finance
  • business/management
  • business with languages
  • economics
  • geography
  • modern foreign languages
  • supply chain management
  • transport/distribution/logistics

Postgraduate qualifications

If you’d like to enter freight forwarding at a more senior level, or progress more quickly, you could consider doing a relevant degree and then looking at postgraduate options. Masters in logistics and supply chain management are available in universities across the UK.
If this is something you’d like to start looking into, why not check out The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) UK? They can keep you up to date with the industry and offer student memberships for cash-strapped students too!
Some larger organisations will offer graduate training schemes, where you’ll spend up to two years exploring the company and working in different areas.
You might also be able do additional qualifications like the CILT ones listed below:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Logistics and Transport – for a career within transport and supply chain management.
  • Level 5 Professional Diploma in Logistics and Transport – to develop core management skills.
  • Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Logistics and Transport – to provide strategic management skills for professional development.

For more information on these, please visit the website for more details.

What experience do you need for freight forward jobs?

Work experience

Like most professions, work experience is always a big plus and it doesn’t have to be in the freight forwarding sector.
Ideally, you’ll have done some work experience which includes broadening your IT skills and day to day office work such as admin and answering phone calls. You’ll also know how to treat customers in a professional and polite way. This is important, because a lot of your work could involve speaking with people to make sure freight has been forwarded just the way you planned it.
If you’d like to do more specific work experience, why not get in contact with a relevant company and ask to do some shadowing work? This is a great way to learn the desired trade skills first hand.
Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a degree course

What skills do you need for freight forward jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for freight forward jobs include:

  • Having good IT skills and a willingness to learn new IT systems and build up your skills through training when you need to.
  • Great problem solving skills and the ability to work under pressure; things might happen unexpectedly when working in logistics, you need to think on your feet;
  • Organisational and planning skills – if you are planning routes across all kinds of different transport types, you’ll have lots of routes/projects happening at the same time. You’ll need to stay on top of it.
  • Strong initiative skills – when things don’t go according to your amazing plans, you’ll be able to adapt and make new decisions on what’s best to complete the mission!
  • Great communication skills – keeping open communication with customers is very important;
  • Ace teamwork skills – having good social and teamwork skills is very important, because it takes a team to get that freight where it needs to be.
  • Having some grounding in geography – your freight could be moving across the UK, Europe and the world. You’ll learn your freight routes in time but it always helps to know Brighton isn’t in Scotland and Peru is not in Africa!
  • Understanding different cultures and religions – this is so important, especially when working internationally.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does an Freight Forwarder do?

Freight forwarders play a super-important role in the movement of goods from one place to another. Not all those goods will be gold bullion, life-saving medicine or precious artworks – but they’ll always be precious to somebody.

By using IT systems you’ll work out the best way to transport the products and goods you’ve been tasked to move, taking into account the customer’s delivery requirements. In large companies, you could have the chance to travel internationally.

HOT TIP: If you can speak different languages, this can be a great advantage when companies are choosing employees to travel abroad.

Your first steps into freight forwarder jobs

When building up your qualifications and work experience you can also look into developing skills in the following areas. They will help you understand transport and logistics from all kinds of viewpoints:

  • packaging and goods
  • order picking
  • sorting
  • warehousing
  • Freight Forwarder jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job::

    • Freight forwarding trainee
    • Trainee import clerk
    • Trainee export clerk
    • Shipping trainee
    • Freight forwarding apprenticeship
    • Graduate freight forwarder