Freight agents are the jack-of-all-trades of the cargo shipping industry. They do a bit of everything. A freight agent may do anything from routing cargo to preparing bills of lading and everything else in between. It’s a job that requires the ability to perform various types of tasks because so many things need to be done in the field.
While understanding what it takes to become an independent freight agent can give you a firm idea of what freight agents do — and, consequently, a notion of the qualities a reputable agent should possess — it’s quicker to have a concise list at your fingertips. Here are things you can look out for when trying to find a good freight agent.
Honesty and Integrity
Being honest and having high integrity are two of the most important attributes a good freight agent should possess. First, it’s a tip-off of that person’s character (which is ideal in almost any industry). Second, it’s necessary for the cargo shipping industry’s survival. Sending and receiving goods is what makes the world go-’round, making sure that consumers are getting what they need when they need it. Freight agents are a vital part of that machine. A successful agent keeps those wheels turning by communication. Without honesty or integrity, this would be possible.
The sheer magnitude of a freight agent’s responsibilities requires a highly developed set of problem-solving skills. For example, at any given time, a freight agent may have to perform the following duties:
- Taking orders from a wide variety of customers
- Arranging freight pickups for delivery
- Directing cargo and freight to destination areas
- Examining and preparing bills of lading
- Determining shipping charges
- Expeditious routing of freight and cargo, both outgoing and incoming
- Addressing shipping concerns for every type of delivery channel, including trucks, docks, trains, and airlines.
Within those duties, there is a large potential for problems to arise. A good freight agent should know how to address issues and how to approach finding a solution for them. Despite how difficult and intricate these problems can be, it’s a freight agent’s job to make it easy and sortable for all involved entities.
One of the best ways to tell if a freight agent is worth dealing with is to take note of how they treat their customers. The cargo shipping industry is driven by consumers. Whenever there is a demand for products, there needs to be a supply. In order to deliver an item to consumers, companies must be able to ship it. Whether it’s an individual person or an entire company, everyone is a customer in the shipping industry. So, part of being a good freight agent means being an excellent customer service agent, too.
A good freight agent should have a comprehensive understanding of the cargo shipping industry. There are various channels of freight and cargo shipping. Whether it’s sending or receiving, goods and products can be routed through the air, on land, or by water. Each mode of transportation is governed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which also has subagencies that manage specific transportation fields. A good freight agent will have a solid knowledge of all modes and understand the necessary requirements each has for shipping. It’s a lot to know, but a reputable freight agent will know it all.
Time and Work Management
By now, you probably understand that freight agents have a massive amount of responsibilities and tasks when they’re on the job. That is why excellent time and work management skills are a must for any freight agent that is good at what they do.
It can be a tough job, but someone has to do it. When you’re looking for a good freight agent, pay attention to these qualities. It can help you find a fantastic freight agent.